5 Effective Ways IT Can Prepare Your Organization for Remote Work

Last Friday, our team was discussing the currently evolving crisis situation and how it is forcing companies to prepare themselves for remote work. It reminded me of an article I read recently that spoke about how the current situation has become responsible for starting the world’s largest remote work experiment. 

It was during that moment we received a company-wide email asking all our employees across the globe to work from home until the threat subsides. It also had a detailed document that had the Business Continuity Plan (more on that later). Soon after seeing the email my colleague Nidhi said, “The company asked us to work from home! Surprised to see how much planning had to go into this. Imagine the state of the IT team! It must be really challenging for them to manage queries, provision devices like wireless dongles, mouse…right?” 

And, that is when it struck me. Situations like these really put the IT teams to test. Preparing a whole organization for remote work, and that too in such a short period of time is nothing short of a miracle. 

But, with careful planning and making the best use of their IT service desk, IT teams can seamlessly transition a whole organization to one geared for remote work. 

Here are a few simple tips for IT teams to prepare their organization for remote work during uncertain times. 

Prepare a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a plan of action a company puts in place in case of an emergency situation. The idea is to make sure business runs as usual in spite of the adverse condition. A BCP contains policies and guidelines for employees to follow until the situation comes back to normal. An organization usually brings in people from all critical functions like IT, admin, facilities, finance, and HR to draw up a BCP.

One of the key aspects of a BCP is to prepare the employees for remote work. For this to happen, the IT teams will have to closely work with the management in order to include necessary IT policies and guidelines. This includes describing the prerequisites for a remote work environment, the contact information of key personnel from the IT department, revising SLAs, etc. 

Also, many organizations, especially SMB’s still manage file servers and on-premise software (Accounting, Email,etc.) that won’t be accessible from home. For such assets, the IT team should either come up with a plan to upgrade the infrastructure or should come up with immediate workarounds like accessing through a remote desktop tool. 

Update the self-service portal 

The next thing after setting up a BCP is to update the self-service portal. This includes adding a folder titled “Business Continuity” and populating it with necessary solution articles like setting up the VPN to access your organization’s network, steps to access critical servers/services, troubleshooting steps for commonly occurring technical issues, etc. 

IT teams can also add an announcement or banner to your self-service portal to get your employees’ attention. You can link the announcement to your BCP document. 

Updating asset details

Preparing your entire organization for remote work might require issuing them additional assets like high-performance laptops for designers, wireless dongles for remote connectivity, mice, keyboards, adapters, etc. In a lot of cases, IT teams will have to procure many of these items at short notice. 

Under these circumstances, IT teams will have to quickly add these assets to their IT service desk in order to track what was issued to whom and when. This will also make things easier for them if the employees raise an issue later. 

A tool like the Freshservice mobile app makes things easier for IT teams by allowing them to quickly scan the assets using their barcodes. This saves time spent on manually entering asset details. 

Internal communication

It is okay to over-communicate during situations like these. The IT team can send out a company-wide email about the BCP, remote work etiquette, a link to request for necessary service items that will ease the employees’ remote work experience, information about the emergency helpline, and contact information, etc. 

IT teams can also use other communication channels like Slack and Microsoft Teams to take this message to the employees. Companies can have a dedicated Slack channel where employees can get all critical updates regarding the crisis situation and updates about the latest remote work policies and guidelines. 

Emergency helpline setup

The last thing on the list is to provide the necessary support no matter where your employees are. It is important for IT teams to set up a special emergency helpline for assisting employees who are working remotely. You can also set up a workflow to assign tickets to every agent in your team rather than assigning tickets based on tier (L1, L2 or L3). A swarming approach to picking up tickets will help IT teams resolve issues quickly. 

Following the above-mentioned steps will help your IT team fast track the process of preparing your organization for remote work. It is not easy, but IT teams all over the world are doing this at this very moment. And it is to their tireless efforts that employees in most organizations are still able to complete their daily tasks. Freshservice takes this moment to convey our heartfelt thanks to IT teams all over the world. They’re heroes and they deserve to be glorified. 

Blog cover by Sharmila