While it's likely to be quite some time before everything gets back to normal, Australia have been lucky enough to see some of the COVID-19 restrictions ease. Each business will tackle this in their own time, but it's probably a good time to start discussing your plans for a return to the office.
There are plenty of rules and stipulations the government has released about hygiene and social distancing measures, so there's not much point for us to rehash those. Be sure to check your State Government's guidance on that. Regardless, there are still some important things to consider from a technical point of view, and that's where we can help.
Many of us took equipment home that would otherwise stay at the office. Additional screens, headsets, power-boards, docking stations etc. Make sure that you take all that equipment back so you can hit the ground running.
You use Pubic Transport to get to the office? Plan carefully so you can actually carry all your gear.
One thing that we have seen during this time is some companies being forced to leverage technology they may not have used otherwise. While the bulk of our clients already had some form of remote work facilities in place, others did not. By having this thrust upon us, we have seen otherwise hesitant workplaces actually embrace this change and garner some positive results. We have no doubt that this will result in long term changes to many companies.
So, while much of the new IT environments may stay in place, there will be some instances where certain facilities were setup for a temporary solution. The beauty of having cloud hosted services is the ability to expand for a short period of time, but then can roll it back when things return to normal.
If you increased the specifications for a hosted server to cope with the added load, or perhaps added entirely new servers, consider when you can start to step that back. You don't want to inhibit your team's ability to work, but you also don't want to continue to pay for something that you're seeing no benefit for. Many of the steps required to change those servers back will require downtime, so it's wise to discuss this with your provider in advance so it can all be planned properly.
As well as the infrastructure mentioned above, you may have temporarily rented additional licenses. Perhaps you needed to add extra Remote Desktop licenses or increased your Zoom subscription to accommodate the changes. Whatever they were, consider what you do and do not need moving forward, and be sure to cancel any subscriptions you no longer require.
Many clients have adjusted their incoming call flows. Some had numbers diverted to mobiles while others had it play a recorded message. Whatever changes you made to your phone system, consider what you need to do to change them back. Again, this would be wise to plan in advance so you can avoid trying to deal with your telco on your first morning back.
If you'?re in one of the few industries that still must deal with faxes, did you have to change that process during this time? Be sure to undo those changes to ensure no faxes are missed.
Finally, if you needed to adjust how email mailboxes were monitored, consider what needs to change there also.
Also, keep up communication with your team. The impact that COVID-19 has had, and will continue to have, is handled differently by different people. For some, they welcome the changes and can roll with the punches, however, for others it can be very stressful and difficult. By issuing some regular updates of your plans, even if they change, can do a lot to appease the situation.
If you're introducing a portion of your team back to the office while leaving some staff working remotely, be sure to stay engaged with those remote workers so they know they're part of the team regardless of their location. It's easy for morale to take a hit in times like these, but a few simple steps can certainly minimise those issues.
If you have temporary solutions in place that we can help with as you prepare to return to the office, be sure to get in touch with your Client Services Manager to discuss.
Most importantly, stay safe and stay healthy!