Home Office Setup

by Jeff Harris, Client Systems Architect, Cornerstone.IT
The following post is the second in a series of blog posts by Jeff Harris that address critical “work from home” topics.


Unexpected Challenges

In last week’s post, we outlined new risks that emerged when most of the business world started working from home. This week let’s discuss unexpected challenges that IT teams have been facing.

Once everyone’s health and safety were confirmed, your firm’s priority was making sure employees could access their documents, emails, and other critical systems. Once attorneys and staff were up and running, what caused your phone to start ringing off the hook?


Communication

The first phone call you received may have been about… phone calls. When an attorney conducts a lot of business over the phone, working without that phone can be a challenge. Some voice providers have instructions for configuring the office phone to work at home. Others have softphone options for computers. You may also consider allowing employees to use their cell phones for business calls.

IT departments have seen a rise in demand for video conferencing. Some in-office systems transition seamlessly to remote workers. Others do not, and some firms don’t have one to begin with. It’s important to research and test any system before providing access to your users. Some free services have been vulnerable to “hacks.” You want to ensure only those invited to the call can join it.

With changes to communication methods, it is a good time to remind everyone of the firm’s acceptable use, reimbursement, and billback policies. IT may be required to maintain a level of security and logs. It’s also important to make sure your end users have enough bandwidth at home.


IT Support & Projects

After spending nights and weekends preparing the organization to work remotely, the IT team was rewarded… with a significant increase in support calls. One law firm indicated their helpdesk call volume tripled during the first week of work-from-home. It’s understandable; new workflows mean new support requests. How do you ensure your users receive top-notch support without overwhelming your technology staff?

Some firms have shifted most of the IT department to support roles and put projects on hold. But what about critical IT initiatives that cannot wait? Firms need to ensure their data is backed up and secure. Have you been able to respond to monitoring alerts and continue patching your systems remotely?


Training

The best way to assist with communication and reduce support calls is to provide user training to support major changes. But how do you train effectively with nobody in the office? Trainers and training companies have been working hard to re-vamp their curriculums for remote learning.

Providing different options for different personas can be helpful. Some people learn best in live sessions, others prefer videos so they can rewind and skip around, and other people absorb written documentation best.


If any of the above scenarios sound like your firm, you’re not alone, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Now more than ever, it can be difficult to identify solutions to meet your needs, support your staff, and plan ahead. Many firms are in survival mode, limiting the visibility of other potential IT problems. We’re here to help – please don’t hesitate to contact Cornerstone and leverage our expertise in planning, design, implementations, monitoring, and maintenance.

Next week we will discuss how to plan for the eventual day when the office re-opens and we try to get business back to “normal.”

Stay well!

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