Set Up Employees to Work Remotely

With the help of technology and changing workplace culture, the flexibility to work from home has almost become expected in most modern office jobs. Research shows it that is beneficial for both employers and employees alike in terms of costs and productivity. For businesses that have not considered work from home before though, figuring out how to enable employees to do this can be a daunting task. How will employees take work calls? How can they access work files from home? Should I let them work from home whenever they want or on an established schedule? Let us outline below the answers to some of these questions to get you started setting up employees to work remotely.

Establish Communication Methods

At first thought, communication with remote workers might seem like a deal breaker. But when you really think out your main veins of communication, most of them wouldn’t be changed by an employee working from home. How often do you email, call, or send a message on something like Slack versus actually speaking with someone in person? In most companies, the only real face-to-face business communications happen in meetings.

By setting up a forward on office phones to either a home phone or cell phone, the regular methods of communication will go largely unchanged by remote work. Employees can still be in the office for meetings, but for day-to-day communications, they will easily be able to keep in touch from home over the internet.

Accessing Work Files Remotely

Gone are the days of bringing home a briefcase full of files to review over dinner. With modern working from home, your office computer’s files can easily be accessed from different locations and even different devices. With services like remote desktop and cloud computing, projects started in the office can be seamlessly picked back up from home.

Remote desktop services allow for your desktop to be accessed from any device through the internet. All settings, file locations, and data are stored in your cloud provider’s servers, not on your physical computer at work, so there is no difference in the experience of logging in at home. Getting set up with a cloud provider is an affordable and easy transition, so it is a popular choice for employers wanting to allow remote work.

Decide on a Schedule

If you are new to allowing employees to work remotely, it is a good idea to set expectations of what sort of schedule you expect workers to keep. Would you prefer those at home keep their same hours as in the office, or are you okay with them keeping any schedule as long as they get their work done? Avoid misunderstandings when you try to call an employee during a work day and get their voicemail. By agreeing on their work from home schedule at the get go, everyone is on the same page.

In addition to their daily schedule while at home, decide if you want to set a limit of how many days can be worked from home or if you’d like to have set days each week that certain employees will be at home. The most popular work from home schedule is to have an established 1-2 days a week that certain employees can work from home. Then, set at least 1-2 days a week that everyone will be in the office for meetings and touching base.

Set Up Employees to Work Remotely

Giving your staff the flexibility and technology to work remotely is a win-win for both employer and employee. Get started by establishing communication methods, setting up cloud computing, and agreeing on a schedule. Soon it will not feel odd at all to work on collaborative projects with each team member in a different location!

What’s New in Construction in 2018

Technology, urbanization, and convenience are the name of the game for construction in 2018. Read on to find out which business tech will become invaluable this year and where we will be seeing the most growth.

Public Transportation Is on the Rise

In 2018, you will find more and more projects coming up that are either to literally build public transportation infrastructure, or to create developments that are public transport centric. With most of the population now living in urban areas, the days of driving everywhere are gone. Housing, especially on the condo and apartment side of things, is in huge demand near transportation stops. Businesses seek out locations that their workforce can easily get to, and giants like Amazon even select what city their headquarters will be located in based on the quality of their public transportation. Expect to see the network of public transportation grow this year, along with everything around it.

Cloud Computing

Construction has always been an industry with a scattered workforce, and now technology makes it easier to communicate and cooperate with those in the office, at home, and on the job. Cloud technology and features such as remote desktop make it possible to access email, project management software, and more from any device. The construction industry has been one of the strongest sectors to embrace cloud computing, and that will only grow in 2018.

Use of Drones

Aside from just a popular toy, drones have a huge range of uses. The reason you see them on a lot of construction sites these days range from mapping job sites, to monitoring progress, to providing clients with project updates. Drones are really in their element at a job-site – where just a few years ago you had to send a photographer up a crane or cherry-picker just to get an aerial shot. Drones become cheaper and their features become more useful each year.

Labor Shortage Increases Calls for Automation

The labor shortage in construction has unfortunately continued into 2018. As we know too well, a desperate need is the fastest way to get new tech onto the market. Automation was a buzzword in 2017, and 2018 is when the talks get a little more serious. The lack of workforce in the construction industry is driving companies to look elsewhere for “man-power,” and it looks like automation just might be the answer.

Construction in 2018

The construction industry has to have the ability to both respond to today’s wants, and plan for the needs of the future. Keeping an eye on where the demand is headed, and what tech you need to be competitive, will put your company in a good place for years to come.

What is Application Hosting

Application hosting is a common feature for software today. For any program that doesn’t need to be downloaded onto your computer, it is more than likely a hosted application. The apps on your smartphone are a common example of hosted applications, but there are likely programs you access from your desktop every day that are hosted as well.

Those programs and all of that data must live somewhere – that is where the “hosted” part comes in. It might be stored on a server at the application maker’s headquarters or it might be with a DaaS provider. Have you heard of DaaS, or Desktop as a Service? That’s right – it is the same idea as application hosting. Users access applications and their saved data through the internet that is stored on a server owned by a cloud provider.

You Likely Already Use It

If you use Facebook, Gmail, and even Salesforce, you already know how to use a hosted application. They don’t require installation on your computer and you can access your saved data from anywhere, on any device. The program simply runs on the cloud provider or software maker’s servers and the user accesses it through the internet.

Common Application Hosting Uses for Business

With hosted application technology, also known as cloud computing, businesses no longer need to buy expensive servers and computers with a lot of memory. They can save money on equipment, electricity, and even personnel costs to run it all.

Modern businesses can fill just about every need with application hosting. Your email can be a hosted application with Hosted Exchange. Your desktop can be logged into from a different computer with Remote Desktop services. Popular business software like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Dropbox all live in the cloud. For a business that operates in the cloud, there is little need for anything more than basic computers and an internet connection.

Benefits of Hosted Applications

The many benefits of application hosting for both businesses and individual users are probably becoming very clear. It’s incredibly easy to get set up with a hosted application, and the cost savings are unbeatable. Below is an overview of the main benefits:

  • Remote Access – easy for employees to work from home or on job sites.
  • Cost Savings – less IT equipment and personnel needed.
  • Quick Set Up – no installation process necessary.
  • Easy to Keep up with Changing Technology – your current programs are easily updated by the provider, and if you want to switch software it’s painless to do so.
  • Software is More Affordable – the ease with which business owners can switch programs has helped drive the cost of cloud-based software down.

Application Hosting

Most of the programs you already use are likely cloud based, or can be made cloud based through the use of a provider. Get rid of those lengthy on-boarding times for new employees and the painful transition every time you want to try out new software. Moving to the cloud will be the easiest choice your business ever makes.

Why Your Backups Should be Stored Off-Site

Modern businesses live and function in the virtual world, so losing data can be like losing the core of your company. Most owners know they should have backups of their files. What many don’t realize though, is that to be truly secure, your backup should not be kept in the same location that your business operates. Most of the scenarios that cause data loss could easily wipe out both your primary storage and backup if they are both in the same location. To truly know your business data is safe, off-site storage is essential.

Natural Disasters

You may have flood, fire, and tornado insurance, but what would happen to all of your irreplaceable business data in the event of a natural disaster? Your server in the next room, unfortunately, would not be immune should a force of nature destroy your company’s computers. Having an off-site data back-up, ideally at least 20 miles away, would allow you to pick up and continue operations much more quickly than starting from scratch. With natural extremes like hurricanes and floods increasing each year, keeping data back-ups in another location is a no-brainer.

Man-Made Problems

Modern businesses must be prepared for disasters caused by other humans, including terrorist attacks. If an attack happens, the one and only priority should be getting personnel to a safe place. Remove the worry of losing valuable digital information by already having an off-site backup in place.

Another man-made problem that many business owners don’t like to think about is the possibility of sabotage. It might be difficult to imagine one of your valued employees becoming disgruntled, but unfortunately, intentional data destruction does happen. Having an off-site backup would keep a vindictive employee from permanently causing damage to your business.

How to Set Up Off-Site Backups

With cloud technology, off-site data back-ups are fairly easy to set up. The majority of cloud providers offer automatic back-ups that they keep on their servers, away from your office. Automatic back-ups are highly recommended, as it takes human error and simply forgetting to update out of the equation.

At the bare minimum, your back-ups should be stored in a different building. Ideally, keep them far enough away that something like a terrorist attack or tornado wouldn’t affect both you and the back-up location. Don’t neglect the security of something as invaluable as your business’s digital files.