With the historic winter storm behind us and Governor Abbott quickly rolling out the broader Texas reopening plan, now is the time to make sure your business is well-positioned for a busy 2021. A monumental task facing businesses is transitioning employees back to the workplace. If you had employees working remotely during the pandemic, returning them to the workplace will require careful thought and planning. But use this as an opportunity to improve your operations going forward by leveraging any of the collaboration tools and IT systems that helped during the pandemic. Or if your team experienced IT or communication issues in 2020, use this as a time to reevaluate your systems, to put something more robust and flexible in place.

When it comes to your phone system, you as the employer can take active measures to ensure continuity and work productivity through coordinating with your IT department, properly managing equipment, and developing a solid communication plan.

Coordinate First with Your IT Department

Almost half of American workers are working remotely now, where according to the Brookings Institution, telecommuting is now a trend that is likely to last. Transitioning the number of workers who go back into the office from fully remote work requires careful and thorough coordination and planning between management and IT. Whether you have an internal or external IT team, you must consult with them to formulate a communication plan. Don’t worry if you don’t have an internal IT team. There are many cost-effective options to outsource your IT functions.

There are strategic and practical considerations to make to be fully prepared, ranging from accommodating new hires into the existing protocol to ensuring all equipment is properly checked back in and performing to optimum levels. Since social distancing could still affect the workplace after returning, you may even want to consider making work desktops and applications available from anywhere through the hot desking approach.

It’s All About the Checklists

Your IT team must establish checklists and routines to ensure that all equipment used by fully remote­­ employees is safely and wholly returned to the office when it comes to your telecommunication equipment. Such equipment includes phone systems, primary desktop or laptop devices used for email, and all related computer accessories owned by the company. IT needs to keep accurate track of all equipment that left the office and then have a detailed plan based on that assessment on reconnecting all equipment in-house.

Communicate Regularly with Your Employees

Information that comes from the top down must be delivered regularly to employees, especially as soon as there are updates. IT must also have a communication channel with employees for both IT support and to send reminders about telecommunication equipment. As some employees will return to the office but others may remain remote, the shift towards increased remote work will also create more challenges for network infrastructure and connectivity, according to PWC

Lockdown and Telecom in Texas

On top of Texas’s pandemic lockdown, the recent historic snowstorm in Texas lay bare fundamental infrastructure issues that directly impact connectivity to essential communication networks. Millions of Texans were recently without broadband and power to communicate and function. Even before this historic storm, funding for establishing broadband in rural Texas had been seriously depleted. Since power and communications services are so interdependent in Texas due to lack of investment in infrastructure weatherproofing, preparing phone systems for Texan workers returning to the office will be even more difficult than for other states. Additional funding and redirecting control over critical infrastructure decision-making will make it easier for Texas companies to prepare their phone systems for when employees go back to the office.

As the wave of business reopening occur in Texas, the time is now for businesses to address how well phone systems are functioning and what can be done to smoothly transition workers back into the workplace. Even with Texas’s infrastructure matters still causing telecommunication problems, our team can help you and your business succeed. Contact us today for a consultation so that your company will continue uninterrupted productivity when returning to the office.

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