In the time of COVID-19, the operations of companies became much more complicated, and many industries were forced to completely suspend their business activities. Remote work is one of the most commonly used solutions nowadays, which - depending on the specifics of the business - allows to maintain continuity of operation and is no less effective than work in an office.
One of the first challenges faced by companies after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and a sudden change in business reality was to provide employees with the equipment necessary to work in the home office model. Not all people were equipped with notebooks, so this problem had to be solved by additional purchases or renting computers. However, equipment is not everything. When implementing the home office model, it is necessary to decide what software to use and for what purposes. Companies which already before the COVID-19 pandemic used the home office model did not have a problem with such software, but for a large majority of other businesses it is not that simple.
What solutions are worth paying attention to so that remote work can be performed in an effective and safe way?
In a situation where work takes place outside the company's premises, the most important thing is data security. In such a case, it is necessary to secure the connection with the company's infrastructure and protect the computer drive against theft.
To ensure the security of connections, it is worth to use the so-called VPN (Virtual Private Network) tunnel connections, which allow to connect the employee's computer with the company network. This connection is encrypted and requires additional access keys generated by the network to which we connect. There are many VPN solutions available on the market, including free ones, but the IT departments usually use commercial tools. In the case of freeware solutions, caution should be exercised due to a number of limitations, e.g. transmission speed, limitation of the number of tunnels that can be created or the number of servers that can be accessed. However, the greatest danger may be that some of the freeware solutions may save user data and make them more accessible.
Another element protecting remote operation is hard drive protection. Theft of a computer is a loss that is easy to calculate - the cost of the device itself. In the case of stealing data or strategic information, which can occur after accessing the hard drive, the losses can be inconceivable. That's why the hard drive should be secured very solidly. The simplest solution is to use the disk protection available in the BIOS of your computer. However, a much safer solution is to use one of the professional tools, such as:
Home office involves primarily teamwork. Employees must communicate with each other, organize teleconferences and meetings with clients, work together on projects or use a common calendar. All these activities require an appropriate platform.
The solutions available on the market include, among others:
Project management is a special kind of teamwork. It involves creating schedules, building teams, assigning and accounting tasks. There are also a number of solutions in this area that can support employees working on projects in the home office mode:
An important element of remote work is the possibility to share documents and to work on them together. This is achieved by tools also used in office work in companies. The most commonly used solution in this area is the MS Office package in various versions, e.g. 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 or Office 365. The latter solution is best suited for remote work, as it can be used via a web browser. G Suite, a package of office solutions offered by Google, can be an alternative. Both packages have all required tools for office work, such as a text editor, spreadsheet, presentation tool or webmail client. They are also equipped with virtual disks, on which you can store shared data or documents of office packages in the cloud. In the case of the Microsoft solution, it is One Drive, while Google offers Google Drive. Dropbox solution is also used to store data in the cloud. Virtual disk providers usually offer different packages of data, the smallest of which is usually free of charge.