When a new remote office is needed for your business this is sure to be an exciting time for you. After all, the need for a new office is probably down to growth in the business, which means that a bright future lies ahead if you get this right.
As well as the physical issues such as the right amount of office space, comfortable seats for everyone to sit on and everything else to be taken into account, it is also important to consider the key technological points which this change involves. The following are a few of the issues you should make sure you think about and deal with to get the new office up and running smoothly.
Communication is the Key
If there is one point which stands head and shoulders above all else when setting up a remote office it is the need for good communication between staff in the different locations. There is no point in filling a smart new office with great workers if they don’t know what they are doing and feel left out of the loop all the time. Thankfully, getting this right isn’t too difficult to do using modern technology. Email and phone calls are among the simplest and least technically demanding ways of maintaining the communication channels open between your main office and the new, remote one. However, there are also more interesting options you could look into to make the communication better and more rewarding. For example, if you want to build up a strong bond between the two offices and share a common culture then holding teleconference meetings is the smartest way to do this. This technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, meaning that you can enjoy high quality meetings without any fuss. The best video conferencing options around now let you enjoy seamless meetings which will make everyone present feel as though they are really sharing the same room.
Document Sharing and Protection
There are probably going to be a number of documents which need to be shared between the two offices at different times. It might even be that people from the offices need to use the same document at the same time. You could use a public cloud storage system but if the information is highly sensitive then a Virtual Private Network is more likely to suit you. This type of system uses the internet to create a secure link between the two office sites. In this way you can share all the drives, files and folders which you need to. This system can also be extended to allow employees in other sites to access the information if need be. Cloud storage and Virtual Private Networks aren’t the only options, though. Remote desktop use is growing in the business world too. This is a relatively new innovation which allows applications to run on a remote server at the same time that they are displayed on a local computer screen. This is seen as a highly secure method of controlling the data that is shared between multiple sites. Wide Area Networks and Local Area Networks are a couple of more traditional approaches but many companies now find that the modern approaches are cheaper and more flexible to implement.
Flexible IT Support
IT support is likely to be a big issue when you set up a new remote office. This type of project isn’t necessarily very complex but there are sure to be some teething problems along the way. The staff who are in the new site could feel left out on a limb if they don’t have access to good, quick IT support to help provide solutions. It therefore makes sense to have a technology expert onsite for the launch and for the period immediately after it. It might be entirely possible to solve most of the problems offsite but having IT support staff right there will give the staff more confidence. The tech staff might also be able to discover and fix problems which the people working in the office hadn’t even noticed. Another point to cover here is that you don’t want the people in the remote office to consider that they are being treated as second class citizens. This is something which could manifest itself in a number of ways and feeling that they are often overlooked when it comes to problems with the technology is one area where they might feel concerned about.
Improve your Main Office
An issue which it is easy to overlook is that you can use the setting up of your remote office to help you improve the technology in your main office. If the infrastructure you are currently using has been in place for some time then there may be a number of elements of it you could upgrade. When you open up a remote office this is a great time to look at what you are currently using elsewhere and try to make it better. The world of cutting edge office technology moves quickly and you might find that there are some easy ways to make the main office better that you might not otherwise have thought of or come across. With the cost of high quality office technology becoming more affordable all the time it is possible that you can put some great new systems in place without spending too much on it.
Don’t Forget the Basic Stuff
We have covered some pretty advanced issues so far. However, it is also important to remember the basic stuff as well. What technology does everyone in the new office need in order to do their job to a good standard? It might sound really obvious to say, “A computer and a phone” but these are the things you need to start with. Then you need to consider the email access and internet access they need. They may seem like very simple, unglamorous issues but if you don’t deal with them then the new remote office is almost certain to be a failure because of it.