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Essential Tools for the Future of Remote Work: A Comprehensive Guide

8 min read

Locknet Managed IT

4 solutions to business survival in today's world

The move toward a remote workforce has accelerated for most businesses; unfortunately, it caught many of us unprepared for such a sudden pivot. With the reality of a long-term remote workforce before us, securing the best productivity solutions is essential to keeping your business both productive and relevant. Most importantly, the majority of businesses--perhaps including yours--need these solutions yesterday. The longer we wait to embrace tools that empower a remote workforce, the more likely we are to fall behind in our chosen industries. With seemingly everyone scrambling to forge these new solutions, time is money...money that potentially goes to the most prepared competitors in the marketplace.

Countless businesses are just trying to survive our current economy, and the struggle is real. But to thrive, it's essential to invest in tools that will strengthen your organization for the long haul. As business productivity experts, we've pulled together effective business solutions to help you face this new global reality head-on. When you're ready to dive in to these opportunities, we can walk you through it from end-to-end. But first, let's take a look at some of the best options for the future of the business world.

4 Must-haves for the future of business and remote work

A comprehensive solution that will power your business over the road ahead and into the future includes addressing business needs that range from secure access, storage and organization of essential documents, to collaboration tools that can help even dispersed workforces actually accelerate the speed of business. The tools we're recommending can help you realize increased efficiencies and improved productivity as well as seamless project management--all the pie-in-the-sky ideals most businesses hope to achieve someday. To get your business to the goal line, our recommendations include: document scanning, document management, cloud services and Microsoft tools.

1. Document Scanning

From time to time, we've all leaned on creative solutions to keep information handy. So, if you are among those with piles of fading carbon copies, microfiche, or paper files, you're in good company, and we're not here to judge. What we are here to do is to help. Because in today's remote working world, these "solutions" just won't cut it. You need to ensure document integrity, improve staff efficiency, save on storage costs, and organize essential information so that you, and others with permission, can access it when you need it most, from wherever you work. That's where document scanning comes in.

At risk is much more than convenience. Here are just a few factors to consider. Original copies can deteriorate over time--no matter what format they're in. But with a document scanning strategy, we can digitize your files so that they are always safe and always accessible. More, finding documents or back files is time consuming and costly...not to mention, limited to one user at a time. Electronic documents free up staff to fulfill their primary responsibilities by speeding retrieval times. Best of all, several staff can access the same document at once, even collaborating within that document by adding annotations and electronic document workflows.

The cost savings of document scanning solutions can be significant. Consider how much staff time is used in trying to find misplaced paper files. Consider, too, the dated tech, equipment, file cabinets, etc. you have to maintain and purchase to store physical files, as well as the square footage that could be better used making money for your business.

The cost of document scanning can be managed to meet your organization's needs. Particularly now, when you may find you have staff who are underutilized. These same staff can be reassigned to organize your existing files and expedite the scanning process, saving your company money on this valuable process while maintaining headcounts until demand for their expertise surges again.

And because we know security is a non-negotiable, we guarantee confidential document destruction and data erasure with your approval. Want to know more? Check out: File Sharing and Storage: Key to Remote Office Solutions.

We're passionate about the importance of making an investment in document scanning, but we also know the realities of the business world: you have to carefully consider every expense. If you're thinking document scanning sounds great, but are wondering about your ability to afford it, please set those concerns aside. For your convenience, we offer a variety of payment options to suit your needs. So, we can strategize with you to provide the solutions you need today, while developing a payment plan for those solutions that won't cause additional financial strain on your business.

Document scanning works hand-in-hand with a document management system, to provide control over user access rights, audit trail reporting and of course the security you and your customers demand.

2. Document Management

When your business suddenly manages the productivity of a remote workforce, a number of new challenges can arise. Among them: how to manage access to essential documents. In 2019, it may have been as simple as handing a paper document back and forth between colleagues. But these days, coworkers are connecting via video conference, and sending paper documents through the mail is about as effective as a modern-day pony express. It's just not a viable option to depend on paper so much anymore.

The simplest solution is a remote document management system. Remote document management enables a dispersed workforce to easily access the files they need from wherever they are, using a company device or their own PC, while still protecting your company's network and data. In short, staff can store, route and retrieve documents electronically, without sacrificing your company's security.

At EO Johnson Business technologies, we know businesses depend on speed, which is why it's important to note that we can get your business set up with hosted document management fast—often in just a day or two. And at a cost that is generally less than $3,500, including training, it's an affordable solution for small to medium sized businesses. More, a recent survey shows companies with document management systems and strategies in place reduce costs by 40% and show a five-year ROI of 404%. That is not a typo; within just days, your business could actually start saving money and achieve a remarkable return on investment, just for making the move to a document management system with the right partner More, a document management system can help protect your company from cyber criminals; an invaluable bonus.

If you're ready to make the leap to remote document management, we're here for you. Simply contact us for more information about how a remote document management system can help your business stay productive, even potentially increase productivity, all with a virtual, remote workforce.

We have numerous resources that can help you as you consider document management solutions for your business. Here are some topics for further reading.

3. Cloud Services

We'd be remiss if we didn't discuss the importance of the cloud in today's business environment (in addition to the fact that it inextricably ties into our other three tools and strategies for weathering this storm and navigating the road ahead). Cloud-based solutions may be on your list of things to do. But in today's remote workforce business world, it should be at the top. Why? Cloud-based solutions will make it easier than ever for you to ensure the productivity of your work-from-home staff by giving them immediate access to the tools they need to get the job done. Cloud-based solutions not only make working remotely an easier proposition, but they are proven to speed up workflows.

Today we're seeing unmatched disruption in the business world, and that has led to an exponential increase in use of cloud-based services across numerous industries. From telehealth solutions to reduce the risk of viral spread, to video teleconferencing platforms to productivity platform usage, embracing the cloud has become not just a good idea, but a necessity, an unlikely hero in protecting public health across the globe. Cloud computing allows workers to collaborate as if they are in the same room with one another. It also allows businesses to connect with clients, without sacrificing warmth and the personal touch.

Of course, just because applications are in the cloud does not mean that cyber security concerns disappear, if anything they increase. Cloud-based solutions and the work from home world should never come at the cost of cyber security. Check out our tips and best practices for Remote Work Cyber Security and our overview of Work from Home Security and Productivity solutions.

In the battle for business, it's clear the cloud is a powerful solution to stem the tide of the economic slowdown without sacrificing business productivity. For one platform alone, the cloud has enabled worldwide users to keep the business world moving. That platform? Microsoft Teams. And it's part of our fourth recommendation for your fourfold strategy to adjust and make the most of the remote working world.

4. Microsoft Teams and Tools

Among the cloud products we highly recommend are Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Azure, Muti-Factor Authentication and Microsoft 365. Let's dive down into each of these components to discover how they can help you and your remote workforce.

Microsoft Teams

The massive shift to working from home has led to extraordinary adoption rates of Microsoft Teams, a comprehensive productivity platform. The capabilities of the platform are vast, so whether you've just begun to consider adding it to your business toolkit, whether you're new to Teams, or you're hoping to optimize your use of the software, we can help every step of the way. Our Microsoft Teams consultants can assist with many of the common challenges companies face, including:

  • comprehending the features of Microsoft Teams
  • navigating licensing
  • training
  • implementation strategy
  • change management
  • understanding customization options
  • project management

From automating and managing processes, to improving collaboration, to saving companies time and money, Microsoft Teams has a lot to offer in today's shifting working world.

If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Teams, join us for our free video learning series, "Mastering Microsoft Teams." This ongoing series gets at the common questions users encounter when using Teams, and will help you build your expertise on the platform. Sign up is quick and easy, and you'll have full access to the ongoing series and the expertise of our Microsoft Teams consultants.

Sign up for our Mastering Microsoft Teams video series here.

And if you're interested in scheduling time with our Microsoft Teams consultants, who can help you with everything from licensing to training to integration and change management, contact us directly.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a public cloud computing platform that has several cloud-based options such as analytics, networking and storage capabilities. Microsoft Azure tools can be used by a wide variety of businesses. Subscribers can choose from a number of support plans that vary in price, though basic level support plans are free. Azure's uses are diverse, ranging from running virtual machines in the cloud to hosting infrastructure components and databases, as well as backup and disaster recovery.

Multi-Factor Authentication

As users take to the great beyond, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) becomes more important than ever. MFA provides a higher level of security for users by requiring a known password in addition to a physical device requirement, such as a smartphone or other device that can receive an additional password. The technology is an essential security tool as workers take work to locations outside the office, where devices may be snatched or compromised. The result is fewer breaches and a higher level of protection for your company data and security.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365, formerly known as Office 365, is another tool that allows for better remote collaboration, in addition to Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Azure. Microsoft 365 makes it easy to embrace the cloud, discover efficiencies and improve productivity.

Microsoft 365 subscription services vary from Business Basic to Business Standard to Business Premium, each with a monthly/per user fee.

  • Business Basic includes web versions of popular office applications, and allows for cloud-based storage.
  • Business Standard provides desktop versions of office applications as well as web-based services, and apps for appointment scheduling and beyond. Cloud file storage, chat, online meetings and business email are included.
  • Business Premium includes everything in the Business Standard subscription as well as advanced cyberthreat protection and device management.
The future of business is remote: these are the tools to help you thrive

It's becoming clear that a remote workforce is a long-term solution for many businesses. The benefits are still emerging, but one thing is certain: to make it work for your company, you need the right tools in place. That includes tools that create efficiencies, improve productivity, encourage robust communication, and enable seamless continuation of your vision. With these recommendations in mind, you're sure to be better prepared for the road ahead.

If you're ready to put this plan in place for the future of your business, reach out to your Locknet or EO Johnson Business Technologies Account Executive, or call 844-365-4968.



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