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Top 5 IT challenges for remote workers and why we recommend Office 365 to overcome them.

Posted November 30, 2017
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Mobile workers are often more flexible, more productive, healthier and less stressed than their office-based co-workers, but they share a common issue: technical challenges! Learn how to overcome them

By Chad Gowrea, Director

Remote working, also known as telecommuting or teleworking, involves employees carrying out their duties outside the office. It’s “The Thing” of the modern world and workers who have that option are often more flexible, more productive, healthier and less stressed than their office-based co-workers.

In recent years, remote working has become common practice, especially among the young and digital workforce. I remember talking to a friend that owns a Marketing Agency and him telling me the challenges he faced while trying to hire some creative people as most developers and copywriters would only work from overseas while travelling.

Ok, we don’t need to go that far. Many businesses have Sales people on the go or C-level staff that are constantly on the road or travelling for meetings. The point is, there are many types of remote workers and many different reasons for businesses to enable mobility. However, there’s one thing they all share: technical challenges.

To ensure your employees can function effectively and productively, it’s important to understand the common issues that arise from being outside the office and away from colleagues. These are what we consider the top-five problems faced by remote workers in today’s business environment:

1. Access

C-level and management require access to servers and business applications to perform their role, even when they’re travelling or working from home. Your IT infrastructure should allow them to work with critical files from any location, at any time.

One reliable solution is to use a platform like Microsoft Office 365, which offers your business the tools to access Outlook and Office suite through the cloud. Office 365 also comes with other useful apps to facilitate access, such as OneDrive for users to store business data in the cloud and SharePoint to give your users access to a cloud document management solution. By using these products, no matter where your employees are, they can access all files and read, edit and save changes.

What do we recommend? Office 365, SharePoint and OneDrive.

2. Flexibility

Employees are often more comfortable using their own familiar equipment and can work more productively on a device of their choice. It’s vital to ensure your system can support a range of popular devices and operating systems. This can reduce the time and money your business needs to spend on training and troubleshooting technology problems.

Again, we recommend Office 365 as you can use it on any device, no matter the operating system. The good thing is that some of Office 365 apps, such as Teams and OneNote, also have desktop versions that you can download to your computer or mobile phone instead of purely using the web browser version – this is my personal preference.

3. Connectivity

Remote workers must be able to communicate with colleagues and clients in real time. A broadband internet connection is vital to ensure emails and documents can be transmitted quickly and seamlessly. Cable or DSL is a good solution for home workers, while mobile devices with 4G cellular broadband can facilitate fast connectivity while on the road.

Nowadays, WiFi is available pretty much everywhere, even in airplanes! However, sometimes you need to be prepared in case technology fails you. In that case, we recommend OneDrive.

You can install the OneDrive desktop app, which allows you to sync your OneDrive files to a local folder on your computer. You can then edit and change files while offline and those will automatically be synced to your OneDrive account once you connect.

What do we recommend? OneDrive and broadband.

4. Collaboration

Telecommuters need to be able to share files and collaborate with co-workers, just as if they were in the office. A wide range of tools have emerged to allow employees to work together on documents, manage projects, track tasks, organise workflows, host conference calls, make presentations and communicate using voice, video and text chat.

Here’s where everything comes together (and my favorite part of Office 365). All apps have native integration, so they sync and can be accessed in many different ways. For example, at Bremmar, we use Teams quite heavily to work on projects that involve different departments. This means that we have a central place that allows for complete real-time collaboration, so we can upload files from OneDrive or SharePoint, see all notes from OneNote, engage in conversations using Skype, and the list goes on and on.

Another example is OneDrive and SharePoint. You and your team can open docs from either of these apps and work on documents simultaneously. Once each member saves it, all the work will merge avoiding duplicity and document conflicts.

What do we recommend? Teams (as the main one), OneDrive, SharePoint, Planner and Skype.

5. Security

Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly probing for vulnerabilities in your organisation. Remote workers are often seen as a soft target, because these employees may be less vigilant when working outside the office or using their own devices. It’s essential to protect your sensitive business information by developing a remote worker security strategy and providing workers with the tools and training needed to safeguard their data.

Office 365 adheres to strict security and compliance requirements. This includes ISO 27018, which is a code of practice that focuses on protection of personal data in the cloud. For compliance reasons, it’s also important to know that all your data will be stored locally in Australia.

The platform also keeps data secured as Microsoft has redundancy in place and offers protection from any incidents that may happen at its data centres or system based failures on their platform.  The service also comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee to keep running for longer. We do, however, recommend that your business also invests in a cloud backup product, such as Skykick.

By providing all remote workers with the support and services they need, you can maximise their individual potential and improve the competitiveness of your business. To learn more about effective remote worker solutions, contact Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

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By Chad Gowrea, Director

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