The 2014 Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) labor dispute almost affected over 300,000 daily commuters. While the two sides did reach an agreement days before a strike, it was a good reminder of the need to create and constantly update a company procedure for remote employee work.

The Five Big Tools for Remote Work

You and your employees should regularly test the following tools on a regular basis to make sure your team is ready to keep working should an unexpected interruption like a storm or mass transit issue prevent your team from coming in to the office.

Internet. Whether your employees will be working from home or a nearby coffee shop, have them test their connection at speedtest.net. Ideally, they should see upload and download speeds of at least 2 Mbps.

Email access. Once the Internet is connected, the next step for most employees will be getting email. Microsoft’s Exchange email service offers a web version for easy access if they are not going to use their mobile phone for email. Each Exchange server has a unique web access address, so make sure to provide the link to your employees.

Remote access. Have employees test their remote access (LogMeIn, GoToMyPC, VPN, etc.) to confirm connectivity. They should also test access to any specialized software they need each day.

File access. If your remote access solution doesn’t include file access, this also needs to be tested to ensure employees have access to the files they will need.

Phones and instant messaging (IM). Whether you’re using VoIP that runs through employee PCs or forwarding hard phone lines to mobile phones, your team should confirm their business phones will work away from the office. Regular tests of your IM client is a smart thing to add to the list. Employees who work together on a regular basis should also consider adding each other to Gchat or another consumer IM service as a backup option.

Marathon has helped a wide range of clients develop remote work plans or a bigger business continuity plan. If you’d like to learn more, contact Marathon to schedule a free consultation today.

Photo credit: Neo-Nighthawks, after Edward Hopper by Mike Licht (CC by 2.0) 

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