The Office of the Future Is Here—And It Needs a Lot of Work

Our current crisis has made remote work a fixture of modern business for the foreseeable future, but we weren’t really prepared for such a large-scale transformation overnight. Here’s what companies must do to catch up. The post The Office of the Future Is Here—And It Needs a Lot of Work appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by AllBusiness.com. All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of AllBusiness.com.

The Office of the Future Is Here—And It Needs a Lot of Work

By Ryan Denehy

The shift to remote work has been accelerated by the current pandemic we’re in, and it has brought to light many shortcomings in our technology stacks. We’ve taken a giant step forward in workplace philosophy and two big steps back in workplace capability, security, and standardization.

For organizations with a remote-focused culture prior to this pandemic, this situation is merely an extension of the capabilities and infrastructure they already had in place. Unfortunately, most businesses were not prepared for what’s unfolded over the last few months and are playing catch-up—only just now considering how to roll out work from home protocols at scale.

If we forget about VCs and longtime teleworkers/freelancers, the average home office and remote IT setup is about as technically capable as a cubicle farm from 2005. Employees are doing their best, but most left the office expecting to return in a few weeks at maximum.

We’re all taking this day by day, but it would be doing your teams a disservice to not prepare for this to be our reality into the next fiscal year. Even if stay-at-home orders are lifted, executives need to be cognizant of the fact that many people wouldn’t feel comfortable returning to the traditional commute or packed offices for a long time.

How efficient are your employees’ home offices?

If you were to ask those in positions of leadership basic questions in this current state, such as:

1. Do you want your team members to succeed and do their best work?
2. Do you care about the security of your organization, employees, and customers?

No self-respecting leader would answer no,” but it’s important that they first reflect on these questions through the lens of an employee and their home office setup at the moment:

1. Access and usability of tools

Do all employees have what they need, and, if they don’t, how easily can they get these assets in the most efficient and secure way possible? Who needs to use what apps? Are these third-party vendors running a tight ship? For most organizations, this just means adding licenses ad hoc and then touching base with the CFO at the end of the quarter. This process not only impacts long-term productivity and cost, but can also pose security risks as well.

2. Predictable system performance

Some employees have a great internet service provider in their building or neighborhood, some don’t. Almost nobody has a commercial-grade router, and very few are using VPNs. Now consider each of your employees’ computers, which are often used for personal computing in addition to work. Is there regular system maintenance being run on all devices touching work data? Both network and laptop management have to be completely reevaluated in a remote work environment.

3. Collaboration

With in-person interaction out of the question during this time, tools such as external monitors, digital white boards, cameras, smart keyboards, etc., are the cultural glue that holds your company together. You might know what you need to be productive, but does everyone in your organization know how and what to properly optimize? Has it been rolled out in a cohesive way?

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Setting up a technologically efficient home office

As remote work continues to become a larger fixture of the modern business, and employees’ home offices become an extension of your company, leaders need to accept responsibility to create a setup that mirrors the standards of quality held in traditional offices.

Home offices should be based on a handful of principles that encourage seamless production of work with minimal technical disruption:

1. Laptop performance and security

Employees’ computers should not just power on and function to some degree—they need to work as fast and efficiently as possible. If this isn’t the case, a remote help desk needs to fix the device immediately. The devices (all of them: Mac, Windows, Linux, Android) should be visible and controlled from a central location. My team chose to automate Jamf and Kaseya deployment, and built a centralized management console so even a non-technical person can manage hundreds or thousands of devices. That’s not the only route available, but it’s worked for us.

2. Keep patching frequent

Applications on employees’ work devices should be installed and updated automatically or semi-autonomously. We’ve all been the person to hit “remind me tomorrow” on a device update—it would be irresponsible to assume everyone has a firm grasp on the importance of device patching and why it’s so important. To navigate this, automate the process so they don’t have a choice to hit snooze.

3. Network/ISP performance

Company-wide home office speed tests should be the norm. Deploying a small commercial-grade router to each home office is a small price to pay for centralized management, troubleshooting, and security for hundreds or thousands of home networks. If you have the capability, create a customized work-from-home IT infrastructure that includes a relatively inexpensive commercial router that can be shipped to each employee and easily deployed.

4. Peripherals

Standardize all home-office peripherals, including shipping and installation. This might seem trivial—“Just get a second monitor”—but depending on a person’s role, there’s more to it. A graphic designer and a sales rep don’t need the same monitor. Your head of legal or CFO might be accessing more sensitive information than your marketing team, so they may require additional security devices like a VPN. What about a digital white board? What’s your hard phone/soft phone strategy? What does that even mean? A lot to consider!

The office of the future is now

The office of the future arrived early. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either really cool or not cool at all (and you’re probably in it right now). Maybe there is a dog sleeping under your desk or a child asking you for an iPad.

Beyond the technical specs, consider the new normal that your teams are grappling with. If you’re a CEO, reach out to as many people as you can. Check in on the people keeping the lights on. If you’re new in your career, voice your challenges and struggles to management. Take time to step away from screens. Encourage face-to-face video chats, but give ample notice so all parties can brush their hair.

We need to start with the basics to make sure we’re setting up teams for success. On a personal level, that starts with a check-in; on a technical level, that starts with elevating your work-from-couch IT capabilities.

Excellence in the “new” office starts with leveraging IT as an enabling-function for your team. It starts with rethinking IT and the definition of “office” from the ground up.

RELATED: 10 Tips for Conducting Productive Virtual Meetings

About the Author

Post by: Ryan Denehy

Ryan Denehy is a 3x entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Electric. Having experienced the pain and frustrations that many business owners encounter in managing their IT infrastructure and support needs, Ryan’s light bulb idea to create a cloud-based, real-time, 24-7 IT support ecosystem laid the foundation for Electric’s vision to redefine IT support for a new generation.

Company: Electric
Website: www.electric.ai
Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The post The Office of the Future Is Here—And It Needs a Lot of Work appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by AllBusiness.com. All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of AllBusiness.com.

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Simple strategies to get the most from your bank account

Your bank account is the focal point of your finances and the main platform through which your money flows. Read more: Simple strategies to get the most from your bank account

Simple strategies to get the most from your bank account

Your bank account is the focal point of your finances and the main platform through which your money flows.

It’s always wise to bank smart as banking is never an easy pursuit. Evaluate the bank you are working with, and strategies in all in your undertakings.

Significantly, managing your finances is never an easy undertaking. You have to plan how to use the money you save in or have in your bank account. Making the most from your bank account should be an endeavour you should strategies competently.

With this in mind, there are incredible strategies to consider and make use of your bank account. Have a look:

Monitor Your Bank Accounts Regularly

You may be a new account owner, or you have just made a few transactions. Nonetheless, it would better if you were neck and neck with your bank activity. Most importantly, be wary of fraudsters or deals that might affect your banking activities.

It’s easy to monitor your bank activities, especially if you do it directly by speaking to your bank. With the advent of better technologies, there are applications you can use and check multiple accounts or get additional banking information you need. As long as you monitor your accounts, don’t worry about trying to balance your account.

At any given moment, never assume your accounts. You might end up finding yourself on the wrong side of a massive burden of overdraft fees. Speaking directly to your bank will help gather robust information on how to stay abreast with your money. Always have a list of the things that your bank charges and figure out whether they are necessary in your case.

Utilise the Available Banking Features

There are useful features that banks provide their customers. And as a dedicated customer, you should make use of these features and manage your finances diligently. For instance, the bank you have an account with may offer free access to online bill payments or remote check deposits, especially through your smartphone.

Get acquainted with other banking features that connect you to your bank’s bill pay system, and they should be sufficient. Through this system, you can automatically make payments every month and stress-free.

Today, mobile banking is the in-thing, and many people are using it to manage their accounts. Don’t be left behind, as this is a rewarding opportunity you can as well utilise.

Link to Other Reliable Accounts

With ever-growing banking services, it’s easy these days to do transfers between accounts. All you need is one dashboard where you can run your accounts at the same bank.

If you are dealing with a genuine bank, it will allow you to link with other banks and open financiers. Ensure the bank you are dealing with makes it easy for you to do transactions between all your accounts, and at no cost.

Set Up Automatic Savings

A genuine bank will advise you to split your direct deposit and opt for automated savings. It means that anytime you receive monthly payments, they will be sent to different accounts.

You don’t just receive a large sum of money into one checking account. For instance, you can have a savings account or a vacation fund account where you receive a certain percentage each payday.

Be Accountable for Your Accounts

Be a responsible account owner, and be at the forefront in managing your bank account. Stay abreast with the latest trends in the banking world.

Don’t forget to mind where your money goes, how you spend, and what remains in your accounts. Focus on gaining long-term financial success and minimise any unnecessary expenditures.

Trust a Lender That Offers Dependable Loans

Making the most from your bank accounts is not that easy if you are making your first deposits or savings. It’s wise to always stay afloat with the latest trends in the banking world. You need to know when to get even the cheapest loans in the market. UPMoney offers you an opportunity to compare loans and get funded in minutes and without any misgivings.

Ensure your lenders say yes to your loan without any lengthy application procedure. The loan application process should work in your case. In this light, ensure your lender will automatically forward your loan to your account without any misunderstanding or unnecessary delays.

Read more:
Simple strategies to get the most from your bank account

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