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The solution to your It concerns

Long ago, you sent your staff to work at home. To their credit, they realized that they were lacking some IT essentials at home. So, they took power bars, keyboards, laptops, monitors, cables and possibly even ergonomic chairs. And, bless them, they were right to do so because the lockdown lasted longer than anyone imagined. Soon, they will return to work at your offices. Will they bring everything back that they legitimately borrowed? Unlikely. Why? Because they have forgotten what they borrowed. So, they will return to offices that are not complete.

Even worse, IT items that they left at your offices may now be out of batteries, in need of software updates or indeed may well be obsolete.

It’s not all bleak. There is a solution … An IT Audit before staff returns.

Let’s get down to an actual example. This month, we helped one of the largest commercial services companies in the world help their multinational client prepare to reopen nearly 50 offices on the same day. 

Their brilliant strategy and our hands-on tactical support made this a model for others to follow. The project was interesting and what we learned can help you a lot.

On a date sometime in the near future, staff will return to your office after nearly 1.5 years after the pandemic caused the closure or emptying of most offices. 

Employers want staff to arrive at a complete and functioning workstation. Unless there is a plan to create it, it is unlikely to happen. Many offices, especially the larger ones in cities hardest hit by the pandemic will have staff arrive at a workstation that isn’t complete – no chair or a missing keyboard, dead batteries in their wireless computer mouse, no desk phone or the wrong display name showing on the screen. Still others may not have access to Wi-Fi or a printer.

With all the downsizing and consolidating that’s been going on, many staff may be returning to different workstations, different offices and many IT departments will be serving a larger number of on-site staff with no increase to the size of their on-site team. In fact, many of the staff cuts have happened to the IT department. Even if IT staff continued to work weekends and long hours, very few offices will have the staff resources to create ready-to-go workstations by the time that offices reopen.   

Now imagine you are responsible for how this happens company-wide. Your company operates multiple offices in many US states and Canadian provinces and your client’s employees need to get back to the office. 

Using a standardized check-list and documenting the process, we did an IT needs assessment in 11 cities for a single client. We identified what they had versus what they wanted so they could bring every workstation easily up to grade. We used this data to report on what they could expect for the rest of their offices.

Here are our takeaways:

The bigger the office, the bigger the challenge because the longer it has been unoccupied. 

The amount of work that needs to be done to ready your offices for staff has been dramatically underestimated. All the work could likely be done but it would take considerable time and would create a considerable amount of noise. For example, on the day that staff return to the office they may bring back their wireless keyboard or mouse but forget the USB receiver/dongle that makes them work. That’s going to generate an IT Service Ticket, staff members will idle time and add avoidable stress.  

The staff’s reaction to working from the office will range from fear, to neutral, or resentment. Hence, it is your job to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

In our opinion, to make the process work really smoothly, you need:

  • An IT needs assessment before staff return
  • Hands-on support from IT professionals to implement the findings
  • IT professionals greeting your staff on return to help with all issues

Like all our special projects, this one was carefully executed to achieve a particular aim – a smooth transition from working from home to working from the office.

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