Key Steps to Take Before Reopening Your Organization

Key Steps to Take Before Reopening Your Organization

While many states have at least partially opened, it remains to be seen if they will continue a steady pace forward to an eventual full reopening, or if they will decide to pull back for a time. In other words, the process of recovering from a world-wide pandemic seems to be a two steps forward, followed by a one step backward process. Thankfully, many organizations have employed creative and innovative methods to keep their doors open as much as possible, while protecting both employees and the clients they serve.

For those who may have gotten off to a shaky start, we will provide some helpful tips on how to make the transition back to normal life as smoothly as possible.

Employee Safety First

While customers may come and go as they like, employees are obligated to remain in the workspaces their employer provides. Of course, organizations must follow government guidelines as to how many people are allowed within a building at the same time. Employers may need to expand the distance between employee workstations, whether they spend most of their time sitting or standing. It’s also a good idea to keep up with the latest information regarding PPE (personal protection equipment) to determine whether employees are being provided with the correct instructions on how to wear their various forms of protection. 

Stay Flexible

While many companies allowed their employees to work remotely right from the beginning of the pandemic, some have found today they need at least some of their employees to work within their physical buildings. Still, some employees may have pre-existing health conditions that put them at a higher risk, or they have a family member who is in a high risk group.

While in a normal world it may be advantageous to have these people back in the office, if they do get sick, not only will it add an extra burden to their physical and mental health, at best they’ll still be required to quarantine for a two-week period. Now is the time to remain flexible and realize it might not be possible to have the entire company operating as effectively as it could. 

Reassure the Public 

Let customers, vendors, and other company staff members with which your organization regularly comes in contact know that you are making every effort to honor their health and safety as well. This may include sending out a corporate email outlining all the steps your organization is performing to ensure their interaction with your employees will remain a safe, positive experience.

If an organization has a physical building that customers or vendors will enter, let them know what you are doing to ensure their safety as well as your expectations of them, by posting a sign on the door which they can read prior to entering. Some organizations may want to include some details about their safety practices in their corporate phone greeting. Others may want to inform the public by way of an advertisement shown on TV or through a radio commercial.

Reevaluate Corporate Technology Security

Many organizations have employees working in entirely different settings than they did before the pandemic. This could mean the new settings open them up to additional security risks as they use technology devices and software apps in a way they never did before. For employees in a remote work environment, organizations need to consider who in the environment may potentially have access to confidential information and/or computer equipment, including logins used for various apps. 

All the different ways in which employees now use corporate computer equipment and software applications must be reevaluated to ensure that a company’s technology system as a whole, remains safe and secure.

If you would like to know more about how to successfully navigate your organization through the pandemic, please contact us.

6 Tips for Supporting Your Remote Workforce During the Pandemic

6 Tips for Supporting Your Remote Workforce During the Pandemic

During this pandemic, businesses have been forced to quickly adapt to changing realities. One of the major changes we have seen in society is the shift towards telecommuting. Teams are working remotely to avoid having to go into the office. It can be difficult to acclimate to this new reality, so you need to provide your employees with the necessary support they need for your team to be successful. Today, we will be going through six tips for supporting your remote workforce during the pandemic. 

Focus on Team Building 

Just because your team is working remotely, that doesn’t mean that you can forget about team building. Working on improving communication and rapport between team members will lead to better collaboration and improved performance. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work Report, one of the top challenges remote workers face is loneliness. 

Although team members can’t get together physically, you still want them to be able to chit-chat with each other and create meaningful relationships. Consider setting up an after-hour video chat “work party” or create a group “coffee room” chat. It is important for each team member to have a feeling of belonging to the team. 

Up Your Communication

A top challenge for remote teams is communicating effectively. In the office, team members can drop a note on their manager’s desk or walk a few steps to a colleague to ask for advice. Managers can regularly check in with team members when they bump into them in the office.

When managing a remote team, it is important to make a concerted effort to increase communication. Check in with your workers every day to ask if they need anything, and tell them not to hesitate to contact you if they have any sort of question. 

Set Up Effective Channels

Every remote team should be utilizing video chat. One-on-one chats allow you to check in with individual team members and stay on top of their progress, while group chats can take the place of daily briefings and meetings. However, not everything has to take place over a video chat. Assign different channels for different tasks — for example, team members can use email or a group chat board instead of video chat for more mundane tasks and questions. 

Create a Schedule and Set Goals

Creating a schedule can help teams stay focused and productive. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown schedule planned for the entire day; it can be a simple 15-minute briefing at the same time every morning or a 15-minute progress check at the end of the day. Establishing a ritual is important, and so is setting goals to help your workers stay focused. 

Be Flexible and Understanding

Another major challenge of working at home is facing distractions. Some team members may have children running around — kids aren’t going to school either. Offer understanding and flexibility. In addition, not every team member will need the same level of communication. For example, some team members may have a lot of questions and doubts and will benefit from an open communication channel; others may not need to ask as many questions and may flourish better when left to concentrate on the task at hand.

While it is important to stay on top of things and check in with your employees regularly, you may have to stay on top of some employees more.

Invest In Quality Cloud Solutions

If you haven’t yet done so, now is the time to invest in high-quality business cloud computing solutions. This will help avoid hiccups and ensure that your business runs smoothly day-to-day.

Contact us for more information on how we can set up versatile and reliable cloud solutions for your workforce so your team members can work from wherever they are, on any device.

How to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache in Windows

How to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache in Windows

Sometimes slow internet connection hinders our productivity or whatever we’re browsing online for. This could be due to many reasons, and one common reason involves your DNS cache.

What is a DNS Cache?

A Domain Name Server (DNS) cache acts like a temporary directory where it stores domain names for the computers to access and read.

A simple analogy to better understand a DNS cache is to compare it to your mobile phone or any gadget’s phonebook directory. Of course, when storing a friend’s number on your phonebook, you don’t just save the number and leave it like that.

That would be really hard to memorize especially that a number contains at least seven digits. So what we usually do is type in a corresponding name to that number and save it. So when we’re browsing for our friend’s number, we only have to search for his name.

Also browsing for numbers only would be extremely hard to do compared to just typing the letters that spell out the names.

The DNS cache works the same way with phonebooks except it does the opposite.

So instead of storing names, the server transforms them into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. In other words, numbers. That’s because machines can’t read words, they use a binary language and communicate in numbers.

How Does a DNS Cache Work?

When you browse for a new website, the DNS Cache saves the domain name in its database. In layman’s terms, it’s like your “search history.”

Then when you try to search for the same website again, the browser communicates with the external server to load the website you’re looking for. However, your local server will work on name resolutions and try to find the domain name in its database.

Once the cache finds the name, it then loads the page.

Having too many domain names in the database could take a while to read and access. That’s why it’s necessary to clear or flush the DNS cache every once in a while or when there are random slowdowns.

Flushing the DNS cache will also get rid of the invalid records and even contaminated domains.

Simple Steps to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache

  • When clearing the DNS Cache in Windows, you must first go to the Start Menu. Then type in “CMD” in the search box.
  • Hit enter, and you can find the CMD file.
  • Right-click the CMD file and then click “Run as administrator.”
  • Hit “Yes” when a prompt box appears.
  • After clicking “Yes,” you should see a command window editor. From there, type in ipconfig /flushdns.
  • Hit enter.
  • After you’ve hit enter, there should be a notification below that says “Successfully flushed the DNS resolver cache.”

You can try browsing your favorite website. Or others would also do one last step, which is to go to the internet settings. Then disconnect and reconnect to the internet.

After that, you should be able to return to your regular browsing speed.

And that’s basically it!

You’ve just cleared your DNS cache, and now it will repopulate all new domain names that you’re going to type in your browsers moving forward.

Flushing the DNS cache isn’t only necessary to fix random internet slowdowns, it can also be imperative when you’ve recently changed the DNS server on your computer.

When you do this, sometimes the settings aren’t properly fixed. Hence, flushing or clearing your DNS cache can help.

Final Thoughts

These simple and easy steps to clear your DNS cache aren’t the panacea for your internet browsing slowdowns. In some cases, your ISP provider could also be the culprit.

But clearing the DNS cache will undoubtedly help if not permanently – then temporarily. For more tutorial videos on all things tech, there arefree online resourcesthat provide clear and concise step-by-step processes.

Author Bio:

Kerry Brooks is a passionate blogger and frequent traveler who loves share tips on photography, technology, and travel. She is currently working with AGR Technology, which aims to provide new information and provide some free software utilities to help computer users get things done quickly and in a simple way.

5 Monthly Maintenance Steps for Your Laptop or Computer

5 Monthly Maintenance Steps for Your Laptop or Computer

To keep your laptop running smoothly, it’s important to take care of some of its maintenance needs every week or month. Create a checklist of things you need to do on a regular basis. Here are five ideas:

Clean Out Your Computer

Clean out your computer at least once a month. A lot of junk files will accumulate, and storing too much data can slow down your computer. Uninstall unneeded programs and delete old files. Use the built-in disk cleanup tool to clean out your disk.

Clean Up Your Computer

Clean up your computer physically as well. Doing this on a monthly basis will prevent dust bunnies from accumulating in the fan and other internal areas, which can slow down your computer. In addition, wipe the screen so that it’s clear.

Update Your Software

Make sure that all of your installed programs are up to date. This will help keep your computer safe from viruses. In addition, check for any Windows updates that you may have missed and install them.

Do an Antivirus Scan

Do a deep scan of your entire system at least once a month. A deep scan will go through your entire system and check for any hidden viruses or Trojan horses in your system files. You can do a quick scan more often.

Backup Your Data

It’s important to back up your data regularly. Ideally, you should do it once a week or once a day, depending on the importance of your files and how often you update them. At the very least, do it once a month. This will let you recover your files in case your data gets lost to ransomware or for any other reason.

For more computer tips, contact us today!

5 Steps to Speed up a Chrome Browser

5 Steps to Speed up a Chrome Browser

As our dependency upon technology increases, so does the demand for faster and faster response times. Most of the time, our technology devices are very responsive. On occasion though, some of the most-used features of technology such as Google’s Chrome browser seem to become slower and slower.

Fortunately, there are a few easy things that individuals can do to bring back that lightning fast response time they enjoyed when their device was brand new.

Check for Malware and Viruses

One of the main reasons why browser response times become slower is due to malware and/or software viruses. Let your IT support team know about your slower browser response times. They can perform some extra security checks to determine if the reduced speed is due to a virus or malware.

Use Google’s Cleanup Tool

If your device is free of malware and viruses, and you are still having trouble with a slow Chrome browser, Google does offer a free Cleanup tool. Simply search for and download the Chrome Cleanup Tool, follow the instructions to run the file, and let it perform its cleanup work. 

Reduce Flash Use

Although web developers are definitely moving away from using Adobe Flash Player, there may be some older websites that still use it. To gain control over using Flash Player in the Chrome browser, simple enter the following into the browser address bar: “chrome://settings/content?search=Flash”. From there, click on the “Flash” tab and either select “Block” or “Ask first”.  

Optimize Image Rendering Speed

The world wide web is full of great images to view, but they tend to slow down user experience. For those who want to see if they can speed things up, try increasing the way the Chrome browser reads images by bumping up a flag entitled, “Raster Threads”. To change the setting, type in “chrome://flags/” into the browser address bar. In the search feature on the page, look for “Number of raster threads” and change the setting to “4”. Keep in mind that this particular feature is experimental and Google may remove it at any time.

Go back to Default

Lastly, if you’ve tried all the suggestions and are still not satisfied with browser response times, going back to the way the browser was originally set up could do the trick. From the Chrome browser, click on the 3 dots in the upper right corner. From the menu that appears, click on “Settings”. From there go to “Advanced”, then select “Reset and clean up”. Going back to default won’t erase any saved passwords, history or bookmarks, which are the items most people want to save anyway.

If you’d like to know more about keeping all your devices super responsive, please contact us!