The COVID-19 outbreak has compelled companies to support remote work. It has been fairly easy for larger companies with established remote work policies and practices to enable their employees to work from home.

However, for some companies that have not actively allowed their employees to work remotely, the situation can be complicated. What does it require for a company to enable working from home?

The number one thing is to ensure that employees have the right tools and resources to be as productive as they would be at the office. This means that everyone should have proper devices and access to necessary data and applications. At the same time, companies need to make sure that devices are used safely and data stays secure, and teams need to find ways to collaborate virtually.

To help companies get started with enterprise mobility, we compiled a list of 7 steps.

1. Make sure everyone has devices that fit their needs.

Most smartphones and laptops are good enough for general tasks, like answering emails or preparing a sales presentation. However, some roles, like software development, require more powerful devices that can run heavy applications.

Enabling employees to choose their own device (CYOD) might be a smart choice. However, you can also compile a list of devices that fit your organization’s budget and that enable your employees to work productively. If employees prefer to use personal devices, device and data security can be ensured by enrolling devices to an MDM platform. This can be done easily by sending an enrollment message via email or SMS.

Furthermore, you should ensure that everyone has the proper accessories for virtual collaboration. Newer laptops have built-in webcams and microphones, but a headset might be useful if you work in a noisy space and need to attend conference calls.

2. Manage devices easier with MDM.

With a Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform, organizations can easily manage and secure their devices and data by enforcing consistent business policies for all employees. You can, for example, ensure that devices are configured correctly and protected with a strong password, and define which settings, apps, and files should be installed automatically on devices.

With MDM, organizations can provision devices “hands-free” with no involvement from employees, ensuring that devices are immediately ready for use. When all Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS devices are supported by a single MDM platform, administering devices is easier.

3. Give employees access to necessary apps and data.

When working from home, employees need to know that certain applications and company files are easily accessible so that they can get their work done without interruption. With MDM, companies can make sure that their employees have the right technology installed and up-and-running on devices by distributing applications remotely. If you need to provide access to your company’s internal network, you can do that by installing VPN settings to devices via MDM.

4. Ensure sufficient bandwidth.

When employees are not connected to your company’s internal network, they should use either a password-protected home network or a mobile hotspot. To maximize data security, public and open Wi-Fi should not be used. If you have a bandwidth limit, make sure that your plan includes enough data. If you are spending most of your day in video calls, you might need to upgrade.

5. Secure devices and data remotely.

MDM software helps organizations to ensure device and data security from the cloud. You can set password requirements for devices, blacklist possibly harmful applications, and separate work and private data. And in case a device gets lost, you can lock and wipe it remotely.

It is also important to make sure that your devices and software are always up to date, and that you have a plan for delivering necessary updates as they become available.

6. Encourage virtual collaboration.

Communication is key. Make sure that all employees have the right tools to exchange information and be productive. Agree on mutual ways of communicating and stay in touch with colleagues by scheduling some regular catch-ups. If you are used to being able to chat about work at the water cooler, keep those opportunities alive using your collaboration tools.

In addition to basic productivity tools like Microsoft Office 365, companies should make collaboration tools, such as SlackTeamsSkypeZoom, and Trello available for their employees. Currently, Microsoft and Google are giving away their enterprise-level conferencing tools, Teams and G Suite Hangouts Meet, respectively, for free for a limited time.

Having the appropriate applications in place to conduct virtual meetings encourages employees to feel connected and helps build a unified company culture.

7. Be realistic with what your team can achieve remotely.

People tend to work differently at home than they do in the office. Some might be more productive at home while others struggle to maintain a balanced schedule. If you are used to working with your team face-to-face, make sure to schedule regular virtual meetings and agree on the tasks that you can all focus on individually. Writing down personal to-do lists for each day may help your team stay focused when working from home.

For some, being able to accomplish everything they might do in the office, from home, may not be possible. Be honest with yourself and your coworkers about what is and isn’t possible from home – and concentrate on what you can do.

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