July 14, 2020

COVID-19 Technology Checklist for Returning to the Office

The COVID-19 pandemic has had adverse impacts on most organization’s operations. These changes range from how businesses are carried out to how the employees attend to daily work. In fact, employees have been forced to work from home in accordance with the social distancing restrictions that were announced after the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Recently, most states and cities all over the USA and the world, in general, are gearing towards opening up the economy gradually. With the relaxation of the stay-at-home restrictions, there is a major risk of the spread of the virus, especially if stringent and effective return-to-office measures are not adopted. This article is a simple COVID-19 technology checklist reopening guide to help you have a smooth transition.

5 Return-to-Office Tech Problems to Expect

The majority of organizations have had their staff work remotely. While there are significant benefits of working remotely, it is important to take the necessary security precautions to maintain the organization’s information safe. For example, extra care is needed to avoid telecommunicating behaviors that could have adverse impacts on your business.

As you plan to return to the office, here are a couple of technology-related problems to address:

Employees mixing work and play

Working from home comes with a lot of flexibility. Some of the activities that your team engaged in while working from home might have been off the limit, such as connecting their devices to unsecured networks. So, ensure that any bad digital behavior is not transferred to the office.

Security updates procrastination

Security is a major aspect that your organization needs to take very seriously. Usually, remote workers may decide to disable antivirus and updates. If they had been used to such behaviors, they may try to do the same once they are back in the office. Such actions are detrimental to the safety of your organization’s documents so, you will need to be on the lookout for such practices.

Slow to adapt

Your team is likely to come back to the office with new working habits. While some of these habits will be beneficial, there will be others that will not be needed in the workplace. Additionally, chances are high that they will have learned new tools of work, which despite their efficiency may not align with the organization’s recommended working policies. Such issues may make re-adapting to the office life a challenge.

COVID-19 Technology Checklist for Return-to-Office

Before you get back your team back to the office, here is a reopening checklist to follow:

Technology Equipment Reminders

The probability is high that a majority of the employees took some office equipment to use them while working from home. As you open up, remind everyone to return any equipment they had carried home. It is important to ensure that all the necessary office accessories are returned a day before resuming office operations.

Some common equipment to consider include:

Laptops and desktops

The most common equipment in this category would include:

  • The major devices such as laptops or personal computers
  • Companion devices any secondary devices that were purchased for use at home
  • Any manuals incase the device in question was acquired to enhance working remotely, the employees should return the device guide

Computer accessories

All the accessories that the employees used alongside the computers should be returned. They include:

  • Scanners and printers
  • Power cords and strips
  • Monitors
  • Docking stations
  • Mouse and keyboards
  • Headphones and speakers

Phone accessories

Your phone and accessories checklist should include:

  • Network cables
  • Headset and base unit for Bluetooth capabilities
  • Sidecar
  • POE injector
  • Desk phone

Test the Devices

Once all the devices are returned, it is advisable to restart. But, why is this necessary?

Restarting the computers gives you the platform to evaluate whether all the necessary aspects of the computer including the critical system access, file, and the internet are working. Make sure that all pending work is saved in the right folders before restarting. You can initiate a restart by clicking the start icon, then power, and choose the restart option.

Restart also any communication devices, such as phones, that the team was using remotely. To restart a phone, simply remove the Ethernet or power. Ensure that all forwarding rules that had been incorporated are removed as required.

Power on any other office equipment that were not used. Such devices include printers, copiers, and conference room personal computers.

Review Security Updates

Cybercrimes are on the rise and there is no better time for such attacks than now when people are so focused on the current pandemic. Now that everybody will be bringing back their devices to the office, it is important you ensure that necessary security measures are adopted. The first step should be to install all the needed software updates and patches you do not want to risk any form of cybercrime in your office.

Many people have the tendency of switching off device security software. Some will disable the automatic patch updates while others remove any firewall protection allowed on the device completely. A large number of people are guilty of always skipping security updates notifications. Such actions can jeopardize the security of not only the specific laptop but also the entire organization.

As the employees bring back the devices they were using at home ensure that:

  • The antivirus is installed
  • Firewall settings are on
  • Automatic patches are updated

If you or your team is not conversant with some of these security procedures, it is advisable you engage an expert in business IT consulting to guide you. An innocent click can cause significant problems for your organization.

Remote Access Review

Once everything has been returned, take some time to review whether the remote infrastructure had been changed.

The major aspects to consider in this review include:

  • The status of the dedicated bandwidth
  • Dedicated citric resources
  • Access policy alterations
  • Mobile device data plans

The primary aim of this review is to revert any changes that may have been adopted to enhance the team’s remote working experience. For instance, you may want to revert to the mobile data plans that align with the office needs.

With many organizations reopening, a lot is needed to ensure normalcy and smooth transition. For most companies, organizing back the IT infrastructure will be a major challenge. It is recommended to engage an IT expert to guarantee a smooth transition. If you are planning to get your team back to the office get in touch with Frontline to schedule a free business IT consultation today!

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