Troubleshooting Tips

New to remote management? Here's how to keep everyone online

If this is your first time managing a remote workforce, keeping everyone connected to the apps and services they use can feel daunting. Since connectivity is more important than ever right now, we compiled some helpful advice to get you started in your new role.

Well, that escalated quickly.

One minute, you’re at your desk checking the news, then whoosh! You’re headed out the door with a monitor in one arm and as much toilet paper as you could sneak from the supply closet in another. Now you’re trying to figure out how to keep an entire company up and running from your newly-assembled kitchen command center.

For businesses of every size, the shift to going fully remote brings a ton of new challenges, especially when it comes to keeping everyone connected to critical apps, online services, and each other. Whether you’re an IT admin scrambling to serve a newly-remote team or the person in HR who’s just been promoted to tech support, there’s a lot to get done in short order.

To help you keep everyone’s network issues to a minimum (while maintaining a safe distance), we’ve compiled some useful advice on getting some ground beneath your feet.

We're here to help

With all the uncertainty in the air, one thing you should be able to count on is your network. We’re compiling all the tools, tips, and resources we can find in one place to help you stay connected no matter where you are.

Don’t know where to start?

If you’re just getting settled into your new role as Remote IT Super-Human, there are some great things you can do right away to save yourself and your coworkers a boatload of headache later.

Map out everything you can

Your company’s work environment isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Now that everyone’s using their home network, your old topology maps (if you had them) aren’t going to be as useful. And while much of the actual topology is going to be pretty simple, you now have to consider the apps, tools, and services in use by each individual.

If you haven’t already, have your team do a full inventory of every app and service they’re using. Sure, you already know what flavor of productivity suite your company uses, but you might not know if a specific department started using a new tool to aid in remote collaboration.

Knowing everything everyone’s using isn’t just doing yourself a favor, either. It gives you a great chance to empower your coworkers. Speaking of which…

Empower your team to help themselves

Now that your coworkers are remote, running to you for help isn’t always an option. This is where a bit of proactivity can save you and them a ton of stress.

By finding, creating, and distributing troubleshooting resources, you can empower your coworkers in the event you’re unavailable or unreachable. This not only helps reduce the stress of uncertainty and inaction but also helps keep downtime to a minimum (which your boss appreciates a helluva lot right now).

These resources can take the form of basic troubleshooting instructions, contacts for services, or walkthroughs for critical apps. And not all of it needs to come from you! We have straightforward, easy-to-use guides that cover the most popular apps and services used for remote work. Check out our resource hub and our Wisdom section for more details, and let us know what apps and services you’d like us to include.

While you’re sending out your support resources, it also doesn’t hurt to remind them:

Start by looking for problems locally

Unfortunately, the vast majority of chronic connection issues are going to be in a place you can’t get to: the employee’s home. While one-off server issues or service outages may hinder your coworkers from time to time, the majority of problems are going to be within the sphere of their influence.

On the one hand, this is great news! If it’s a localized issue, you and your coworkers can take action! On the other, you don’t have visibility into the problem, which can make solving it a complete crapshoot.

To make matters worse, there’s a decent chance your IT toolkit wasn’t set up for your sudden relocation. If remote management is new to your company, the type of RMM software you might have is a bit bloated for your team member’s Macbook. Not only is adding a ton of new endpoints expensive, but they don’t offer the granularity of diagnostic data you’d need to troubleshoot the problem.

This is something we can help with.

Our network troubleshooting tool, PingPlotter, is a great option for helping test (and even monitor) remote machines. First, PingPlotter is always free to download, so you and your team can start testing hassle-free. Second, PingPlotter tests networks faster than your typical network tool. While most only test a network every minute, PingPlotter can do it every second. Third, and this matters a lot for remote workers, it’s easy to set up and share data.

Regardless of the tool you use, remember that, much like systematic change, most network problems start at the local level.

Gearing up for the long haul

For as quickly as things escalated, it appears that we might all be working remotely for a while longer than we may have originally expected. But just because we’re working apart doesn’t mean we can’t work together.

We’re keeping our eyes out for any services offering promotions, assistance, or anything else to make this hard shift to remote work a little easier, and you can find all of it in one convenient place. We’ll be doing our best to keep this hub updated as things progress.

And, as always, you and your team can download a free 14-day trial of PingPlotter to start solving network issues right away. Also, if you or someone you know is in an industry where PingPlotter can help keep things running (be it health services, manufacturing, communication, education, or e-commerce), get in touch with us. We want to support the world in whatever way we can.

Stay safe, and stay connected.

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