Changing the way we work in a Coronavirus world

Working remotely

Changing the way we work in a Coronavirus world is today’s new reality for many businesses and their employees.

Like many area businesses, local technology firm Solinkit has been closely monitoring the situation surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

“We are having to change the way we are working during this 21stCentury crisis,” said Solinkit Manager Michael Brown. “We have endured different crisis’s in the past and made it through. This one will be the same.”

Still, the situation isn’t all bad, Brown said. In fact, the changes it brings with it might even been be seen as positive.

With the Coronavirus pandemic has come a need for companies to rethink the way they are doing business.The health and well-being of employees and partners have become their highest priority.

The need to move to a remote workforce and find a new way to reach customers as they shutter their physical businesses is changing the way they stay in business.

Most businesses today have websites, and some have full eCommerce websites. Those who don’t are rushing to upgrade and modernize their online presence, adding a virtual store where their customers can shop.

The first paperless office was introduced in the late 1970’s. Fifty years later, businesses are forced to use this way of working. Brown calls that “a positive improvement” in the way business is carried out.

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Blame pandemic and social distancing

Brown makes these points about doing business during a COVID-19 shutdown:

  • Today we have to move away from the traditional signing of documents, due to social distancing. Programs now allow businesses to digitally sign documents that are accepted in most legal circumstances.
  • Some companies now expect their staff to use their own digital devices to work from home. Yet some people no longer own a computer or laptop, let alone a compatible device capable of running some of the business’ necessary programs.
  • Remote connection programs make it possible to use devices not meant for work purposes, by using a remote connection program to utilizing their powerful computers at work.
  • We are communicating with each other a lot more now, either by phone or video conferencing.

For instance, Solinkit takes extra measures to ensure the stability of its clients and community during the Coronavirus shutdown. Things every business should consider in the new world pretty much ruled by pandemic concerns.

Things like extended business hours, with an 24/7 emergency help desk.

To help clients during the economic downturn, they are waiving additional fees for after hour support. They are even extending the rate adjustments to new customers.

“In times like this the community needs to pull together and do their part,” the firm’s technology director, Nathan Neil said.

He recommends safety measures, wherever you are at. His firm takes extra safety measures by sanitizing work areas before and after work has been completed. They follow CDC guidelines before anyone can even touch a computer or other machine.

Be aware of COVID-19 phishing scams

The Department of Homeland Security CISA (cyber and infrastructure) warns individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). CISA encourages individuals to remain vigilant and take the following precautions.

Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. See Using Caution with Email Attachments and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Scams for more information.

Use trusted sources such as legitimate, government websites for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19. Do not reveal personal or financial information in an e-mail, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.

Remote computer access

Businesses in today’s world need a workforce with full remote computer access, Neil said. He recommends RemotePC to enable full functionality to work as if you were sitting at your desk.

RemotePC offers secure and optimized solutions for remote access to your on-site computers. It allows companies to access and manage distant computers at any time, from any device, as long as that computer has an active internet connection. It is also platform independent so employees can access remote computers on Windows, Linux, Android and Mac.

“We trust this platform because it is secure and firewall friendly,” Neil said. “You can share your computer over an internet connection.”

RemotePC allows employees to transfer files from their phones or home computers to the remote computer and vice versa.

Printing documents from remote computers is simple with Remote PC, he said. It also makes it possible tp view a computer with multiple monitors.

Work from home tips

Solinkit has the following tips for companies whose employees work from home:

  • Work-at-home employees experiencing internet connectivity problems should restart their home internet equipment. This will resolve most issues with residential modems.
  • A slow-running home computer might have too many tabs open. Employees should turn their computers off when they finish their work.
  • It’s always a good idea to close and reopen your browser if web browsing seems sluggish or, even better, restart your computer by clicking on the start menu, select “Power” and then select “Restart”.
  • Use programs like CCleaner to remove unneeded preloaded programs as well as junk files from your computer. Keep your antivirus and operating system updated. Microsoft’s own antivirus is a very good solution today.
  • Backup your data in a second location, either using the cloud or a removable device. Malwarebytes is another very good program that will help keep your computer safe.
  • It is always advisable to use your company-issued computer to perform any work or access any company data or resources. Personal computers may not have the same level of protection as a company computer.

Remote support and system monitoring

In today’s rapidly changing world businesses need the extra security that remote support and monitoring provide.

They get it in the form of services that ensure hardware is working correctly in a company’s physical location, even while an office is closed.

“At Solinkit we can monitor everything remotely and ensure that (a company’s) machines are up to date,” Neil said. “This includes making sure machines are getting security updates, proactive monitoring, identifying viruses and malware and providing remote assistance and support.”

Data storage and backup

Neil recommends an appliance called Synology as its customers source for file sharing, file syncing, and data backup.

“Synology’s File station is a versatile file manager that allows you to share files easily and safely,” he said. “With one link you can share files or request file uploads from other people. Those files can be accessed securely, from any location.”

Employees can even explore files using a mobile device. Synology’s Data Backup allows businesses to protect personal and business data.

Information about ordering new equipment

If potential expansion is an issue, A business needs to plan ahead now, Neil said.

“Many manufacturing and supply chains are shut down or otherwise disrupted,” he said. “It could be hard to get new computers and other IT equipment in the coming weeks and months.“

Businesses with new hires on the horizon should start planning now to have plenty of lead time to order necessary equipment.

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