Idea Fest 2021

It’s that time again! We recently hosted our fourth annual Idea Fest, a Shark Tank-style forum where employees present their ideas for company improvement. Presentations may focus on streamlining a particular job or task, better emulating our core values, improving the company’s bottom line, or enhancing the service we provide to our clients and partners. Instead of just identifying problems or areas that could be improved, Idea Fest focuses on solutions; presenters are expected to include a plan for implementation. We have two prizes: a $50 gift card for the best idea, and another $50 gift card for the best presentation.

Each presenter has 5-10 minutes to explain their idea, followed by a brief Q&A session with the rest of the team. At the close of Idea Fest, all attendees vote on their favorite idea and presentation, and the management team meets later to organize execution of the ideas.

This year, we had three presenters:

  • Natasha Herrera, our COO, outlined a Road Trip system for updating employees on recent company updates
  • Josh Insel, IT Engineer from Team 4, won Best Idea for his proposal of a longevity bonus
  • Rachel Roybal, our HR Director, won Best Presentation with her idea to create a “FIT Kit” welcome package for new hires

Best Idea: Longevity Bonus

Technology has the highest turnover rate of U.S. industries, so employee retention is a huge focus for most businesses. We are always looking for ways to make sure that we are providing a stable workplace with both room and support for growth. Idea Fest is one of those ways; it allows team members to share their innovations and ideas so we can all grow together.

Josh’s idea was to provide an extra incentive as a thank you to long-term employees; every additional year an employee sticks with the FIT family, they are eligible for a bonus that increases with their tenure. Color us (not at all) surprised: everybody loved this idea!

Best Presentation: New Hire Welcome Package

Keeping with the theme of employee retention and happiness, our HR Director Rachel suggested a “FIT Kit” to be sent to new hires before their start date. Especially while the bulk of the company is working remotely, a welcome kit is a great way to showcase FIT culture and help new team members get a feel for who we are.

The proposed kit would include a note from our CEO, employee testimonials, our core values, and of course, some FIT swag! One of our core values is to create a Raving Fan culture, both internally and externally, and we loved this idea on how to create raving fans out of our new hires! A big part of our team growth has been through employee referrals, underscoring the appropriateness of the Walt Disney quote Rachel used to kick off her presentation: “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and again and bring their friend.”

We’re stoked to see how the FIT Kit turns out!

Runner-Up: Virtual “Road Trip”

Natasha, our COO, tied with Rachel for Best Presentation. She pitched a virtual “Company Road Trip” idea. The road trip would be set up as an online presentation of company changes and updates over the previous quarter: new hires, internal job openings, new technology or applications we’re using, exciting new goals, an update on company growth, etc.

It would also include a “road closures” list: anything that is changing or being streamlined. Teams or departments could choose to complete the road trip together, or individually. After completion, employees qualify for souvenir swag.

A central figure in this road trip idea was Fitzgerald, or Fitzy, Natasha’s proposed new mascot for internal FIT functions. We enjoyed meeting Fitzy 1.0 and who knows, maybe we’ll see him again on some FIT swag!

We love that our team is constantly looking for ways to help us improve and move forward! That innovation is one of our core values, and Idea Fest is the perfect showcase for that creativity. Thanks for tuning in!

If you want to join a fast-growing team that thrives on ideas, team input, and raving fan culture, we’d love to talk to you! Head over to our Careers page to see if we’ve got an opening that suits you.

Who’s On Your Bench? Teaching & Delegating for Growth

And we’re back for round 3 of our core values discussion! Our ‘Teach & Delegate’ core value is near and dear to our hearts. Many organizations tend to focus on formal, structured training—a rigid, chalkboard-style approach to teaching. That has its place, but we can’t neglect teaching by example—the qualitative skills team members pick up from everyday interactions with leadership. As most parents can attest, we imitate what we see rather than what we hear.

Training at the Company Level

How do you teach others to teach? To lead? The FIT team is more than halfway through a 15-week training course for our entire organization. Each Tuesday, we have a companywide roundtable where employees discuss what they learned and enjoyed, leadership shares how the training applies to our business, and we have a question-and-answer session to make sure that application is clear.

As leaders of our organization, we have the responsibility to lead by example, to show that our core values are not just standards for company conduct, but standards for our personal lives and choices. For us, this involves encouraging participation, inviting employees to share their stories and struggles and wins, how they have applied or want to apply the concepts we’re discussing.

Training at the Employee Level

Companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in training their staff. Training Magazine’s 2019 Training Industry Report found that on average, employees received 42.1 hours of training annually. However, that training is usually designed to help an employee better fulfill their existing role—not to prepare them for the next one.

At FIT, we have this concept of “being on the bench.” To move up in the company, you need to seek out mentors, learn the roles and responsibilities of the job you want, and “be on the bench” for that position. By the same token, though, you can’t move out of your position unless you have someone on your bench. This cycle of learning and teaching allows for smoother transitions and more internal hiring.

To help with this passing of the baton, our teams are recording hundreds of videos documenting our processes and knowledge across all departments, making it even easier to “be on the bench.”

Elevation Through Delegation

It’s difficult to discuss the topics of teaching and delegating separately because they’re so intrinsically linked. They also tie in with our other core values, such as constructive communication and staying humble and adaptable.

Much of the business world today is infamous for its selfish, me-first spirit: climb the corporate ladder, always look out for #1 or people will take advantage of you. Few people would actively endorse these messages, but there’s definitely a feeling of “that’s just the way it is, so to be successful, I’ve got to play by those rules.”

At FIT, we feel that we can’t be successful—as leaders, as individuals, as a company—if our staff isn’t successful. For us to do well, our employees need to do well. We want to elevate our team, because it elevates us. The same applies between employees; we will not succeed as a team if everybody isn’t working to elevate both themselves AND each other.

As an example of delegation, we recently hired a new engineer named Rance. Usually, Shane, who manages our engineering teams, would be responsible for training a new hire. However, fellow engineer Douglas (who, on a related note, won Best Idea at our Idea Fest for his plan of creating more structured mentorship for new hires) volunteered to train Rance, and Shane agreed to delegate that responsibility to him. We love when team members engage like this; it strengthens the team bond, trains employees for managerial responsibilities, and creates a sustainable cycle of growth.

What Makes Delegating Hard?

It can be difficult to delegate: maybe the job won’t get done as quickly as you’d like, or you’re worried that sharing your knowledge or responsibilities will make you irrelevant or dispensable. But if you don’t delegate, you can’t grow. If a rock climber never let go of one hold, he’d never scale the wall.

You can’t delegate if you’re worried about yourself, your position, your success. Going back to the “bench” concept, are you taking the time to train and mentor, to invest in and elevate someone else? Doing it yourself may be faster, but delegating means restraining yourself from doing a task, and allowing someone else to do it slower.

When you let go of that ego and elevate those around you by sharing your knowledge, you elevate yourself, too.

How It Benefits You

We want to elevate, not just ourselves and our team, but also our clients and partners. Our mission is to help businesses achieve their growth goals as smoothly as possible. If you’re ready to elevate your business, give us a call today at 888-339-5694 or contact us here.

Lessons on Team Unity from the Roman Empire

Time for another behind-the-scenes peek at the inner workings of FIT Solutions! Last time we examined the first of our core values, cutting-edge expertise. Next up in the series is Team Unity.

Why is unity so important to us as an organization? How do we look for this quality in new hires? And how do we continue to foster that spirit amongst our team?

The Why

Just about every amazing accomplishment comes from a team effort. For example, the Roman Empire didn’t arise by accident; it took systematic teamwork and organization. Their army was immensely successful, in large part due to the training soldiers received to work as a unit. We have big goals at FIT, and we can’t get there without a unified team.

Another motivation for prioritizing team unity is the nature of consulting work. To be a strong IT partner, we need to know our clients’ environments inside and out, and we put a lot of effort into making informed recommendations to improve their performance. The varied knowledge and expertise of our team is a huge asset, but what happens when a team of engineers doesn’t agree on one solution? If they meet with a client, and each one is recommending a different approach or tool, they could actually undermine the client’s confidence in our ability to solve their business problems.

To make sure we act together as one unit, we have regular account management meetings to discuss different options and solutions before settling on a course of action for the team. Even if their presented option was not the one chosen, each engineer supports the final decision and does everything they can to make it successful. Think of it like a football team: even if a player would have personally chosen a different play, his team has the best chance of success if he puts his all into the directed play he is given.

The How: Part 1—In New Hires

One of the contributing causes for the fall of the Roman Empire was that legions began recruiting foreign mercenaries to keep up their numbers. Having no loyalty to the empire, the new recruits lacked the unity and cohesiveness of the original ranks, and eventually, many of them turned against Rome.

It may seem like a bit of an extreme example, but the underlying principle is key; we’ve worked really hard to build a cohesive and united team, and we want to make sure that new team members will help to strengthen that bond rather than erode it.

Many of our new hires come from employee referrals; we prefer to hire people that we know will fit our culture and values. When we don’t know an applicant, though, we conduct an exercise that asks about the candidate’s personal, professional, and financial goals. We also ask them to explain what our core values mean to them, and how they pursue those values in their own life. Often, we’ll do a role play exercise as well to help them get a better feel for what they can expect after joining our team.

The How: Part 2—In the Team

Team unity includes both unity between employees and leadership, and unity between teammates. To encourage the first, we strive for transparency, and have daily company-wide meetings to keep everybody on the same page. At those meetings, we report on wins from each department, welcome new FIT team members, share positive feedback we’ve gotten from clients, and announce work anniversaries. We also use that time for Raving Fan shoutouts, expressing appreciation for a teammate that has gone above and beyond for their team or for a client. We even have a dedicated Microsoft Teams channel for Raving Fans feedback.

Having a united team is great in theory but can be difficult in practice. When things get hard, when we have strong opposing viewpoints on service—that’s when this value gets put to the test. If we encounter a situation where we see a slip in our unity, we immediately meet to discuss what happened and how we can do better.

When FIT Solutions was started, we structured our teams in a unique way; instead of having to work their way up a help desk, clients get immediate access to a team of high-level engineers that know their environment. This has a two-fold benefit: our clients get better service, and our engineers get mentoring. Finding mentors in the IT field can be difficult, but with a team structure like ours, teammates sharpen and drive each other, working together to solve problems and expand their knowledge. This, too, contributes to team unity.

The Result

A streamlined team with one goal in mind is capable of awesome things, both internally and for our clients. We love working closely with our partners to solve business problems. If you’re ready to work with a team that is truly in sync with your environment and business goals, give us a call today at 888-339-5694 or contact us here.

How to Become Unstoppable

In a world where the technology landscape is constantly changing, how do you stay ahead of the curve? You’ve got to change with it.

From a business perspective, this means continuing to learn and adapt, taking in new information and figuring out better ways to solve business problems.

At FIT, maintaining cutting-edge expertise is one of our seven core values—the guiding principles that shape our actions as a company. We’ll be delving into each of these values over the next several weeks:

  • Cutting-Edge Expertise
  • Humble & Adaptable
  • Elite Raving Fan Culture
  • Constructive Communication
  • Team Unity
  • Hard Work
  • Teach & Delegate

As an MSP, we serve as the IT support system for our clients. To do so while providing elite service requires a high level of technical excellence and knowledge. Our clients have widely varying IT environments, with different needs and toolsets, so we need to be broad and progressive in building our knowledge base. The more we learn, the more we can accomplish for our clients.

So how can maintaining cutting-edge expertise make you unstoppable?

Forming an Unstoppable Team

During the hiring process, we have a rigorous standard for experience, and place a high value on being an expert or highly capable technician. Some of this comes with on-the-job training, and some of it is a base requirement to join the FIT team.

To find the right mix, we look for particular qualities in job applicants as well as quantifiable data, like certifications. We want people who are humble and eager to learn, because teachability coupled with experience is an unstoppable force.

How Do We Maintain This Momentum?

The typical ramp-up for any company’s new hire is a heavily front-loaded training schedule, which tapers off as they get comfortable with their role and responsibilities. How do we keep an intense focus on maintaining and increasing expertise while balancing the needs of the day-to-day work?

We put a strong emphasis on continuous learning, with semiweekly engineer roundtables and monthly training sessions. In the pre-COVID-19 era, we hosted lunch-and-learns every month or two, inviting partners or engineers to present on particular topics. We leverage our partnerships with vendors to get training and updates on their tools until we know it as well as or better than they do.

We also make extensive use of LinkedIn Learning; our engagement falls in the 75th percentile of companies that use this platform. Our Learning paths are a combination of management-chosen and self-driven, and feature both the videos already offered by the platform as well as how-to and educational videos put together by our own team. It’s no surprise that computer networking and network administration are among our top skills learned, but the most popular programs actually center on communication, emotional intelligence and teamwork!

Our client base covers a range of industries, from healthcare to finance to manufacturing to recreation, and each industry comes with its own language of sorts. To be a true partner and actively contribute towards achieving their business goals, we need to be able to speak the lingo.  So some of our trainings are industry-specific, helping our engineers communicate effectively with our end-users and client contacts.

How Cutting-Edge Expertise Benefits You

Every single minute there are new things to learn. To stop is to stagnate. If you don’t prioritize learning and growth, you’ve basically stopped.

We see so many companies that are using obsolete systems because they ‘get the job done,’ without fully grasping how much time or revenue is wasted on inefficiencies. At FIT, we’re always working to learn what’s new and how to better solve business problems. We love getting to put that drive to work for you—searching out inefficiencies, implementing new solutions, and streamlining your environment until it hums.

Ready to work with a team of cutting-edge experts? Give us a call today at 888-339-5694.

Welcome to Idea Fest 2020!

We recently held our third annual Idea Fest, where employees develop and present ideas on how we can improve. These can revolve around how to improve your job, the whole company, or the service that we provide to clients. No idea is too small. We have two prizes: a $25 gift card for the best idea, and another $25 gift card for the best presentation.

Ideas are presented Shark Tank-style, where each presenter has the floor for 5-10 minutes, followed by a short Q&A session with other team members. The management team meets later to discuss the best ideas, decide the winners, and organize implementation of the winning ideas.

Idea Fest focuses on not just identifying problems or areas for improvement, but actually proposing solutions. Presentations are expected to include a plan for execution and the anticipated results.

This year, we had six presentations. David Gadson, our Procurement Manager, won Best Presentation for his idea for adding an Ultimate Team rating. Douglas Stanley, one of our remote engineers, won Best Idea for his proposed buddy system for improving new employee onboardings.

The FIT Ultimate Team

Accountability is really important to us: accountability to our customers, to our company, but also to each other as peers and teammates. David’s idea is a peer-to-peer rating system that focuses on how we are doing on our core values.

For example, one of our core values is Constructive Communication. So how are we doing? Do our team members have a hard time getting a hold of us to answer questions? Or are we quick to respond to questions? Is our speech negative or complaining? Or are we making an effort to be positive and upbuilding? Are we actively pursuing or working towards new certifications or improving our skills?

The idea was inspired by FIFA’s Ultimate Team rating system, created by EA Sports. Our version would be a similar system, ranking from 1 to 99 (no one is a zero, and no one is perfect), and would give you an honest, broad-reaching opinion on your work abilities and habits. It gives us something we can work on, and keeps us accountable, both to ourselves and to each other.

Ratings would be anonymous and would not be tied to salary, bonuses, or performance reviews. The Ultimate Team rankings are meant to help us keep creating and refining a Raving Fan culture.

The concluding slide of David’s presentation (in which he photoshopped various team members into the Avengers) definitely played a part in his winning the Best Presentation award…

New Onboarding Buddy System

Since we serve clients all over the nation, a decent chunk of our team work remotely (even before the pandemic). However, starting a new job remotely presents some unique challenges. Douglas Stanley started his presentation by asking our remote engineers tied in for an honest rating of their onboarding experience, from 1-10. Suffice it to say, the average was not where we need it to be. We have some work to do!

There’s a certain degree of “out of sight, out of mind” for remote teammates that you don’t see in the office every day, especially in a company with 50+ employees. For those new hires, it can take even longer for them to truly feel like part of our FIT family. They don’t know who to go to with questions, and their new team is busy taking care of clients.

Douglas’ idea was a buddy system that assigns new hires to a single point of contact for the first 30 days. This mentor will walk them through our tools and procedures, have multiple daily check-ins, and be their go-to person for questions. They’ll also be available during the new hire’s first on-call shift.

The entire team loved this idea! Creating Raving Fans is one of our core values, and we want to give our team members the same Raving Fan service that we give to our clients.

The Fest Continues

Our other presenters proposed a company intranet, assigning product champions to develop a repository of shareable expertise on our various tools, a managed print solutions program, and a way to improve client interactions. We are exploring ways to implement some of these soon as well!

Hope you enjoyed this year’s Idea Fest as much as we did!

If you’d like to work with a team that welcomes innovation and creativity, we’d love to talk to you. Reach out to us at info@fitsolutions.biz.

Measuring KPIs: Do Your Actions Align With Your Vision?

From the FIT Leadership Team

We always strive to be fair, both to our clients and to our employees, and to create the best environment in which to work. We also strongly believe in bringing what makes this team wonderful to more businesses without compromising on quality. To accomplish that, we need to grow—both in quantity and quality.

As some of our most senior employees will tell you, FIT Solutions has always been on a growth trajectory. From our ‘garage-operation’ days until now, we’ve consistently looked for ways to grow and improve. There is no point where you have nothing left to learn or improve, so as the leadership team, we try to set an example of taking in knowledge, seeking out counsel and coaching, and holding ourselves to a higher standard every day.

As part of that constant refinement process, over the last year we’ve put increased focus on strengthening the foundation of our organization: our vision, our mission, and our core values. These make us who we are as a company, shape our team, and define more clearly our passion for solving business problems for our clients. Having the entire team on the same page when it comes to where we’re headed and how we plan to get there has been of immeasurable value.

With growth, though, often comes growing pains. We do our best to take these as the positive indicators they are of movement in the right direction. One of our core values is to stay humble and adaptable. The humility is essential to recognize where we have room for improvement, and the adaptability is vital to survive and thrive in an ever-evolving technological landscape. Those qualities are what move us to seek out opportunities to better ourselves as leaders, as partners, and as problem-solvers.

Over the past few months, we’ve been examining how we track and achieve goals within our organization. Exercising that core value of humility helped us to identify the need for an adjustment.

As humans, what we believe in and what we care about don’t always align with our behavior. For example, we may be interested in being healthy, and we may believe strongly that being fit or exercising regularly is important for good health—but are we acting in harmony with that belief? Do we take regular, methodical action to improve our diet or exercise routine? This is not always the case.

Similarly, the things we believe in at FIT—growth, adapting, creating the best environment—are not always evidenced by our actions. To be clear, we’re not talking about our team! We love our people and are very proud of everything they do. Rather, what we’re discussing here is a commitment by us, as the leadership team, to align our actions more closely with our vision.

Successful sports teams are often spoke of as being “tight”: operating like clockwork, moving efficiently and effectively, not wasting time or energy on actions that don’t align with the ultimate goal of winning. A team gets “tight” when its coach sets clear expectations and motivates his players to meet and exceed these goals. Why are the best athletes drawn to such a coach? Because through that guidance, players are able to achieve far more than they thought possible. A great coach helps athletes refine their skills and makes a workable environment for improvement and success.

Setting clear expectations and goals for our team members dignifies each individual and allows for constructive conversation. We encourage each employee to make a habit of regularly writing down their goals—personal, professional, and financial—and discussing these with their team lead in 1×1 meetings to see how FIT can help them reach those goals.

In line with this, we are introducing new KPIs, or key performance indicators, for each department and team. We already have some KPIs in place, but they are not always closely aligned with our vision and with the specific goals of each department. Returning to our sports example, the entire team may follow a common workout regimen. But if the quarterback’s goal is to get more touchdowns, and we know that running sprints gives him an edge on the field, then having him run sprints is in harmony with that goal. At first it may feel uncomfortable or difficult, but with practice, it becomes habit, improving his on-field performance.

At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to do right by the people that depend on us—our clients and partners, our employees and their families, and our clients’ employees and families. In everything we do, we keep in mind the responsibility that we have towards this multitude of people.

If you are looking for an elite IT partner that is committed to catapulting your business to success, give us a call today at 888-339-5694.

Working Post-Pandemic: What’s Your New Business Normal?

We’re still in the throes of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, but it’s not too soon to start looking ahead to what your future business landscape will look like. How prepared are you to get back to business under the “new normal”?

Many, many businesses made major changes in response to the outbreak. Most prominent was the shift to work-from-home models. That often involved some combination of rolling out virtual desktop infrastructure, upgrading the capacity of VPNs, moving major pieces of IT infrastructure from on-premises into the cloud, and shoring up work-from-home security to protect the business. Even businesses in sectors such as on-site retail, healthcare and manufacturing that weren’t able to move front-line workers did their best to comply with stay-at-home mandates by shifting some of the support functions.

Here’s the question: Are you ready to go back? And what will you be going back to? Back to business as usual? Back to basics, with a downscaled operation that will require a lower cost structure? And as for going “back to the office,” are you even going to go back?

The Scale of the COVID-19/Coronavirus Change

Let’s face it: We’re in the middle of the largest “work from home” experiment in history. Use of video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout Meets and Zoom shot up during March as the pandemic took hold. Metrics including total users and total minutes for these services saw growth from five to 25 times their pre-pandemic levels as businesses, schools and other organizations took their work home with them.

While the outcome of the experiment is still unknown, a survey of CFOs at large enterprises indicated that three-quarters are going to shift some positions to permanent work-from-home arrangements after it all shakes out. A few (4%) said they will turn half of their workforce into remote workers.

What about smaller businesses? Sadly, some are not going to survive multiple months of lost business. They already have shuttered or will soon shutter their doors for good. Others will be restarting the business amid what will likely be a down economy, will need to get by with less income on the balance sheet, and will have to take a very hard look at their capital expenses and operating costs.

Out of Pandemic Chaos, Comes Opportunity

A sea change like this, as disruptive as it’s been, also forces us to take a fresh look at things and ask some new questions. So why not use it as an opportunity? Consider the following:

  • Should you extend your work-from-home arrangements after the pandemic and make them permanent? If workers were equally or more productive working from home and liked the arrangement, would you profit from higher satisfaction and retention, and could you cut your real estate costs?
  • Is it time to move more of your data and applications into the cloud? If you were sitting on the fence about the cloud before, the COVID-19/coronavirus experience should have erased most of your doubts. The cloud proved it could scale, and in many ways it’s easier to secure. Moving more workloads to the cloud could slash your costs for maintaining computing infrastructure.
  • Could you get a better deal on your communications? If you’re going to support more work-from-home arrangements or rely more on cloud infrastructure, you might need higher-capacity connections. You could very likely get higher bandwidth for the same money. Or, you could slash your costs for Internet connectivity and telephone service by taking a fresh look at your connections. There are companies that are in the business of brokering to get you the best performance for the price, and it’s well worth having them investigate for you.
  • Could you get the same functionality with fewer vendors? Items like multifunction printers and networking equipment, servers, software licenses and communication contracts all sourced from multiple vendors are time-consuming to deal with, from an IT management and financial perspective. When you ‘right-size’ for the new normal, can you consolidate to fewer vendors at the same time?

At FIT Solutions, we can work as an adjunct to your IT department, putting to use our extensive experience cutting costs and improving IT efficiencies for hundreds of companies. Would you appreciate some efficiency-improving, rightsizing, cost-cutting help with your post-pandemic planning? Give us a call at 888-339-5694 or email us today.

Livin’ La Vida Zoom—Keeping In Touch with a Remote Workforce

During this time of COVID-19, self-isolation and social distancing, businesses and communities across the nation and the globe are dealing with a lot of turbulence. More and more organizations are turning to remote workforce solutions to continue operations.

Many of these businesses are used to being in a physical location; moving to a completely remote setup may take some adjustment. In our last post, we discussed how a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can allow your team to securely access corporate data from their personal devices. But the human element of your teams is just as important.

Now more than ever, company culture and structure are going to be vital for stability. Here at FIT Solutions, we made it a point to recreate our office environment as closely as possible in a virtual setting. This has allowed us to transition seamlessly into remote work. Some of the things we’re doing to maintain normal operations include:

  1. Structure & Routine
    We’ve encouraged our team to stick to their regular routine where possible—maybe filling the time they would have spent commuting with physical activity, like working out or walking the dog. Normal dress code still applies. By dressing professionally, team members are always ready to jump on a call or video meeting with a client or prospect. All remote employees are expected to have their cameras on for Zoom meetings; this helps everyone stay alert and engaged.
  2. Department Touchbase
    Each afternoon, department heads have a Zoom meeting, no more than 10-15 minutes, with all members of their team to make sure everybody’s on track.
  3. Client Communications
    Immediately after San Diego announced shelter-in-place guidelines, we began reaching out to our clients. Members of procurement and sales jumped in to help our account managers reach everyone as soon as possible. We asked how they were doing with the transition, whether they needed any help, and assured them that everything is business as usual on our end—they wouldn’t experience any gaps in service from our team!
  4. Team Motivation
    At FIT, we pride ourselves on the quality of service that we provide, and we love hearing positive feedback from our happy clients! We have a designated Microsoft Teams channel dedicated to sharing these testimonials and kudos with the whole team. It’s also a means for team members to shine a spotlight on a coworker that went above and beyond. These shout-outs keep us excited and determined to keep providing the best possible service we can.

Adjustments

While our normal structure was already well-arranged to support remote work, we did make a few adjustments, from which we’ve seen good results.

  1. All-Hands Huddle
    Every morning, we have a 15-minute all-hands meeting through Zoom. Cameras are required to be on, and virtual backgrounds are encouraged. Members of our management team take turns sharing recent wins, news, tips and positive thoughts to motivate our team to success. We center these stories around our core values to keep our company culture strong and focused. Since we began working from home, having this meeting daily (instead of weekly) helps to keep everybody on the same page and working towards the same goal.
  2. Storytime
    During our all-hands huddle, one or two employees take a few minutes to share something personal and positive—maybe their new home-office set-up, or what they’re doing to stay active or productive while shut-in, or a great experience they had with a coworker or client. We love seeing each other’s pets and kiddos!
  3. Virtual Happy Hour
    We usually do these monthly or semiweekly at the office, so it was only natural to continue this tradition on Zoom! Everybody’s welcome to dress-down and share a beer and stories from home.

Even though sometimes it feels like we’re practically living on Zoom these days, these tips are helping the FIT team to stay positive and busy! What is your business doing or trying to continue operations from home? If you need help getting your workforce set up with secure remote access, let us know; we’d love to have a conversation with you. Not sure if you’re fully equipped? Get your free assessment today or call 888-339-5694.

How to Quickly — and Securely — Enable Work-From-Home

In response to current events, your business may be faced with the challenge of quickly putting a work-from-home program in place for your employees. Here’s the hard part: those employees will be largely on their own, with varying degrees of technical knowledge, connecting from their own home networks and accessing corporate data and resources. You need not only to get them connected, but equip them to work productively, with ample security in place so you don’t put your organization at unnecessary risk.

Considering the Alternatives

The best-practices approach — under normal circumstances — is to distribute preconfigured corporate-owned laptops. Aside from the expense, time might be the bigger issue in our current situation as businesses everywhere are rushing to equip remote workforces. Currently, the time from order to delivery of new laptops is around 15-30 days, for some suppliers.

A tempting short-term fix is to allow employees to connect to corporate resources directly using their own personal home computers, laptops, or tablets. However, this exposes corporate assets to a wide variety of risks that are outside of your control. These risks include outdated or insufficient endpoint protection, access of confidential data by others in employee households, and rogue devices on a poorly secured home network — among other threats.

The Right Technology, Right Now: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a widely used remote access approach with many advantages. With VDI, employees use their personal devices to access a virtual desktop — a computer that they control remotely. They view the screen, and control it via mouse or keyboard. The approach is much less expensive than provisioning and distributing laptops, and far more secure than a direct connection. With VDI, business owners can:

  • Provision remote access for tens or hundreds of users cost-effectively with a cloud-hosted solution
  • Allow secure access by a wide range of employees’ personal devices, from home PCs to laptops and tablets to smartphones
  • Tightly control access by combining standard login credentials with multi-factor authentication (MFA) to guard against weak or compromised passwords
  • Keep corporate data off of personal or public networks — the corporate data only appears superficially onscreen, and never actually enters or is stored on the user’s personal device
  • Provide a familiar environment and business access —the virtual desktop can be configured to look and behave exactly like an office-based system, with access to all corporate applications and data stores, productivity, email and collaboration software

At FIT Solutions, we can quickly set up a VDI for your employee remote access. It is housed in our data center in a private cloud, with all essential security measures provided. We connect the virtual desktops to any applications or data you need, whether those are in another public or private cloud, or in your own data center with access protected through a secure point-to-point VPN.

Have questions? We have the answers. For more information or to get started right away, give us a call at 888-339-5694. We’re also offering a free Remote Workforce Readiness assessment, which you can find here.

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