Even though it looked like the end of the pandemic was nowhere in sight just a few months ago, the time is finally coming. As vaccinations rates soar, and cases plummet, most companies are getting ready to return to the office this fall.
\The issue is, most are focused exclusively on making their offices a safe place to go back to. Don’t get us wrong, that IS the most important thing. But have you thought about what happens once everyone is (safely) back at their desks?
Almost no one was ready to change to a work-from-home model overnight. We get that. Companies were resilient and resourceful in order to get employees working from their homes as quickly as possible. This might have meant letting them use their personal devices to access company resources, relaxing your networks’ security, or buying the first software you could find that solved your particular problems.
According to KPMG, most employees are eager to get back to the office, but there’s a caveat:
Three-quarters of those surveyed want a ‘hybrid’ model. Meaning they want to be remote at least a couple of days a week.
However, there are some things you need to keep in mind to have a secure back-to-the-office plan, whether it is hybrid or not.
Even if your plans don’t include any work-from-home, needs have changed. Employees expect to be able to stay at a reasonable distance from each other if needed. Depending on your office size, this could mean that people will be working from areas that might not have been used before, adding new desks, or expanding meeting rooms.
Make sure to re-evaluate or survey your Wi-Fi coverage and expand or strengthen it as needed. What you had before might not cut it anymore, and having your employees running around looking for a place to work can hit your productivity hard.
Maybe you didn’t have one at all before. Maybe you opened your network because of the extreme urgency of the situation. But if you plan to have your employees work from home to any degree, you need to make your network private and set them up with a VPN so they can access company resources securely.
Cyber-attacks are booming during the pandemic, and they are expected to get even worse once corporations start making big changes again, which is when they are most vulnerable. Make sure you are covered.
As we mentioned before, you might have let your employees connect to the company’s network using their personal computers.
Hey, we’re not judging. Millions of employees did not have a corporate laptop to take home and everything changed so quickly that it would have been almost impossible to procure one for every single person.
But if you plan to keep employees working from home, even if not every day, you need to set them up with proper corporate hardware. At the very least set up a system so they can remote into a secure company session from their personal device.
If you already had all of the above in place or did so during the pandemic, kudos! You are set up for success.
However, it’s important that you get your IT department or your MSP to run a general health check of all your infrastructure. This includes servers, routers, switches, access points, UPS’s, video conferencing systems, and all cabling.
It might have been more than a year since you’ve given them proper maintenance or used them at all. Some devices might be outdated, a security concern, or just plain not working at all.
Be A Step Ahead
If there’s any work to do to your infrastructure, now is the best time to do so. Ensure you clean, set up, and upgrade your hardware before everyone is back. Since no one is at the office, you don’t need to worry about noise or installations bothering your employees and their productivity.
Don’t wait until a couple of weeks or days before you plan to open your office. Most companies will do just that, and pay the price accordingly. Take the first step now, and enjoy your workforce at full throttle while others struggle to find availability to do what they need.