Business leaders across Puget Sound are trying to figure out how to bring their employees back to the office and the logistics that surround it. There have been multiple delays to the process due to the Delta and Omicron variants, and a few other factors. Many employees have stated that they don’t ever expect to return to the office full-time, and some say that they don’t expect to ever return to the office at all!
Bringing employees back to the office, to any degree, brings a number of challenges. However, some procedures can be put into place to ensure that the return to office can run as smooth as possible.
Things to Check Before Your Staff Return to the Office
It has probably been a significant amount of time since anyone has been in the office regularly, so there will be a decent amount of housekeeping to be done before employees return. A checklist needs to be created to ensure that all workstations and laptops are updated and all of the required third-party apps are updated too.
Purging all of the end-of-life operating systems and applications is also necessary. Laptop replacement schedules can also be taken advantage of. Machine accounts will have to be re-activated by reconnecting them to the Active Directory. Any equipment that is dirty or damaged will have to be cleaned or replaced.
How to Stay Connected When In and Out of the Office
Once the staff is back in the office, there will be a number of tasks to complete regularly to ensure there are no issues as some employees may still be working from home. Servers, networks, and hosted systems will have to be updated, along with remote access and other deferred maintenance.
Video conferencing rooms will have to be designated, and equipment like monitors, projectors, headsets, and microphones may have to be purchased or updated. IT processes will need to be optimized for both onsite and remote users. Next-generation anti-virus, device compliance policies, and security frameworks can help prevent any security breaches.
Integrating Staff Back Into Office Life
Staff may also have to be refreshed on training, with reviews of acceptable use, document management, and security policies. One-on-one sessions can be useful if any employees are feeling overwhelmed or anxious about learning these procedures again.
Loaner equipment that was purchased during the employee’s time out of the office will also have to be analyzed, and reimbursements made as needed.
Maintaining Smooth Operations After Returning to the Office
It is a good idea to carry out annual security assessments, if you don’t already, in order to see if performance has improved or declined since the integration back to the office. Establish disaster recovery plans and continuity plans so that everyone knows the direction that work is going in.
Your IT staff will need time and direction to prepare for the return of employees to the office. The team(s) that are returning will also need training and support. This process may be slow and arduous, but if the steps laid out here are adhered to, your company’s return to office should run as smooth as possible.