Remote work is a growing reality for organizations around the world. It presents a challenge, but it also presents an opportunity. With the right tools, approaches, and habits, individuals and teams working remotely can be even more productive than teams who work together in the same location. This post offers tips to employees working remotely. Don’t miss Tips for Employees Working Remotely and Tips for Managing Remote Workers and Teams.
If you don’t currently work from home but plan to begin doing so, there are some key information technology (IT) considerations to keep in mind. Here are six tips to help you get started:
- Keep up on passwords. Your network password (the password you use to log on to your work computer and email) is likely set to expire every few months (or possibly more frequently). If you know your password will expire soon (or if you’re not sure), change it while you are still in the office.
- Prepare your computer. If you are using a ‘loaner’ laptop from your organization, ensure proper set up while you are still in the office:
- Make sure you can log on with your username and password (you may need to be connected to your office’s network to do this).
- Ensure that all applications you use are installed and available.
- Set up bookmarks in your browser manually or through an application like Google Sync.
- Familiarize yourself with any app portal that your organization may have.
- Don’t forget your power cord!
- Prepare your files. If your organization allows it, be sure that any cloud storage service is set up so you can access files normally located elsewhere. Otherwise, ensure the files you need to access are stored on the computer you’ll be taking home.
- Establish any needed VPN access. Virtual Private Network (VPN) access may allow you to access your office’s network and server(s) from a remote location. This may not be necessary for most staff, but if you need to establish a remote connection in order to access your server or any specialized software, ensure that you work with your IT support team to get everything set up.
- Be ready to complete routine office functions from home. If you routinely need to scan or print documents in your work, identify solutions now. There are many smartphone apps that function as scanners and can output PDF files. If you need to sign documents, and your organization allows it, use applications like Adobe Acrobat to sign PDFs without needing to print or scan. If you require a setup with multiple monitors, ensure you have the cables needed. Alternatively, there are smart phone apps available that allow phones or tablets to serve as second screens through USB or Wi-Fi connections.
- Set up your home network. Test your home internet to ensure it will support your work tasks. If your internet is not strong, consider options such as switching plans or providers, getting a signal booster, or speaking with your organization’s IT focal point for other suggestions. Don’t forget to maintain good IT security habits while using your home network (identifying/avoiding scam emails, being vigilant about attachments, etc.).