COVID-19 Survival Guide for Business Owners

4 Ingredients for a Successful Work-at-Home Plan

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across our nation and the world, our state and local governments are daily increasing our restrictions on travel and movement about our cities while an increasing number of areas are on total lockdown. Governing authorities across the nation have made work at home declarations in addition to making it temporary law. Working at home, will not only help your business and our economy survive during these unprecedented times, it is also the best way to protect your employees from this virus. So, how can you as a business owner transition your workforce into a work-at-home team that still performs at a high level?

For traditional businesses with on-premise phone systems, email and file servers and desktops, you will need to migrate your systems to the cloud to transition your team’s capabilities. Here is a list of “ingredients” to help guide you through this transition.

Ingredient 1: Usable Broadband/High-Speed Internet

The first thing you will need to do is survey your employees to find out the quality of their broadband at home. In order to successfully run voice and video calls, and transfer files, a good standard for broadband speed is 50M download by 5M upload. If they currently do not have these speeds, they should consider upgrading to a plan that meets or exceeds this standard. There are several cable, best-effort fiber, and 4G Internet providers that can help you get business-class service. Simple Cloud has access to a patented tool that will tell us in under 30 seconds what providers (and prices) are available at your employees’ locations.

Ingredient 2: A reliable Cloud-Based Phone System

Internet-based phone systems have been around for some time and have evolved to a feature-rich reliable business-class service that makes communicating from anywhere a cinch. These features which are included in all best-in-class providers are now collectively known as UCaaS. (Unified Communications as a Service). If you have been reluctant to make the jump, now may be the time. In the past, many on-premise phone system users cited quality issues related to running essential traffic over the Internet as a reason not to move to the cloud. Those issues have more than been addressed through several technological advances, which fix packet loss and other factors that degrade voice and video quality.

Here are the key features of a UCaaS system that will enable your work-at-home team by leveraging the benefits of unified communications in the cloud.

  1. Video Conferencing – Having a high-definition, reliable video conferencing bridge will enable your team to stay connected as well as with your customers. All the UCaaS providers we offer includes video conferencing built into the monthly price.
  2. Mobile App – When you move to UCaaS, every employee will be able to download an app to their iPhone, Android phone, Windows, or Mac desktop or laptop. Once installed, the app becomes the phone system, allowing them to receive and make calls from their work number, and transfer calls to any member of their team. The best part of using a cloud-based phone system, is you, as the business owner can see call volume, call duration, and many other metrics about your team, all at once. There are even options for recording and live call monitoring that can be done from anywhere.
  3. Collaboration – Using tools from our providers, your team will be able to communicate one-to-one, one-to-many, much like a group text. When you add employees at a future date, they’ll be able to see the entire history of the chat as well all files that have been shared within the specific group.
  4. CRM Integration – UcaaS was built to integrate with other cloud-based systems, especially CRMs. Many providers have already built interfaces into the most popular CRMs:, Zoho, ZenDesk, Method CRM, MS Dynamics, etc. If you have a custom-built CRM, or other internal system, many of our UCaaS providers can build a custom integration for you.

Ingredient 3: Move the Desktop Workspace to the Cloud

One of the reasons many employers require their workforce to work in a centralized workspace, is the specialized software they are required to use. Another is access control. In the past, it used to be easier to manage access to specific files within the confines of the local area network. With the technology available today, it is possible to virtualize your entire office workspace and make it available from anywhere while maintaining centralized control over access permissions. We have multiple vendors that can help you move your desktop workspace to the cloud. Some of them can turn up seats in a matter of minutes, making it one of the easiest cloud technologies you can implement.

Ingredient 4: Remote File Share

When your team works from home, it is imperative that they be able to share, collaborate on, and store files in the cloud. The most popular cloud file storage providers:

  1. Microsoft Office 365
  2. Google G-Suite
  3. Dropbox

Using file share, you’ll be able to sync the desired files and folders to your local device, you’ll be able to share files with just the people you want to see it, and most importantly, your entire enterprise will be immune from data loss caused by failing, damaged, or stolen hardware.

How Fast Can You Make the Transition?

The good news is, our network of service providers can get these services up and running for you quickly. The thing that takes the longest is the transfer of your phone lines to the new provider. Although this takes on average of a month to fully complete, our providers can enable features that will simulate your existing phone numbers to make them fully usable within a few days. Everything else can be done in weeks, and in some cases, days.

Even if this pandemic does not last as long as projected and life goes back to normal, you’ll have the most advanced cloud-based technology working for you well into the foreseeable future, making your workforce dynamic, adaptable, and mobile.

If you would like assistance in putting a work-at-home plan in place, please call us at one of our locations. We are here ready to serve you.

In the meantime, stay safe, work smart, and know that we are humbled to play a small part in helping contain this pandemic and to protect our most vulnerable through practical work-at-home strategies. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected.

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