Many organizations are struggling with how to keep healthy staff engaged and productive when they are asked or request to work from home. Fortunately, the investment in cloud resources many nonprofits have already made helps make this transition easier.

Our colleagues at TechSoup published this informative guide and recorded webinar, including free options that can be implemented relatively quickly, with little to no external IT support needed to do so and with a focus on remote communications and information sharing solutions.

Tips for making remote work successful:

Find a rhythm that works for you: Working from home is different than going into the office. Days you work from home and days in the office are very different. Allow yourself the flexibility and don’t try to make your work from home day(s) the exact same as your work in the office day(s).

Turn that camera on: Working from home can feel a little isolating. Be sure to enable that camera for video calls instead of using voice only. Bonus, with video you get to minimize that awkward part of the call when two people talk at the same time and then pause and then apologize and then do it again.

Know how staff are connecting: Many organizations have moved toward providing laptops to staff. This makes it easy for them to have a productive and secure platform if they need to work remotely. If your organization doesn’t have laptops for all staff, then it can make remote work challenging. Encouraging staff to access resources through the web can provide more security and reduce support costs to the organization compared with trying to upgrade or install business applications on home computers that may not be updated or have adequate antivirus. 

Technology Tools

Microsoft Teams for nonprofits: If your organization is on Office 365 but hasn’t done a full migration into SharePoint and OneDrive, then using Teams is a good interim step. Teams is how Microsoft imagines the future collaborative workspace. In the app are tools that support chat with colleagues, video and audio conferencing and a space to save and collaborate on files. There are a lot of good resources to help get you started;

GSuite: If your organization is in GSuite, you can get access to advanced tools in that platform until July 1st. Google has provided access to upgraded video conferencing tools that allow up to 250 participants per call. Additionally you can also collaborate on files through Google Docs and Sheets through the cloud.

Zoom and other video conference call tools: If you are using these video conference call tools you may not be as cybersecure as you should be. Check out our nonprofit cybersecurity tips for Zoom video conferences and other conference call apps.

Remote Desktop / Virtual Desktop: If your organizations doesn’t have laptops for everyone, or has on premise applications then you may need to look at adding a Remote Desktop Server or Virtual Desktops. These solutions can provide remote workers with a centrally managed and secure environment to access work resources. No data is saved on a person’s home computer and the work and personal environments remain separated.

Cybersecurity: The shift to remote work has been made possible through the innovation in cloud technologies. While working from home can be easier from a technology perspective, it’s also important to have policies and procedures that can keep up with the change of pace with technology. In any situation it’s important that the systems staff access are secure, up to date and backed up. You can view our Cybersecurity resources here, including an updated Cybersecurity Risk Assessment webinar.

Ready to support your staff working from home?

At Community IT Innovators, we’ve found that many nonprofit organizations have already made moves to not just allow remote work but actually embrace remote workers and develop a supportive culture.

Our techs are well-versed in supporting organizations that support remote work. We constantly research and evaluate new technology solutions to ensure that you get cutting-edge solutions that are tailored to keep your organization thriving. And we ensure you get the highest value possible by bringing 25 years of expertise in exclusively serving nonprofits to bear in your environment.

If you’re ready for nonprofit IT support that supports your remote workers, let’s talk.