Answers to your 5 most common remote working questions

Overcome those remote working glitches – answers to 5 common questions, direct from the Service Desk!

As we all know, there has been a huge shift to remote working with many businesses asking staff to temporarily base themselves from home. Our Service Desk has been in the front line of helping customers iron out IT issues encountered by their workforce in the process.  Here are just some of the common remote working woes we’ve come across.

  1.  “I’m trying to connect to the shared drive in the office, but it’s not working.” 🙁

It’s fair to say VPN has caused a bit of confusion, in the early days at least! If you’re having difficulties connecting to your office server, first and foremost, it is worth checking that your company has enough VPN licenses to allow everyone to access the system simultaneously – this may not be the case if most people were office-based before.

If the issue is not VPN related, then running through this quick checklist will often uncover the fault:

  • Is your internet working correctly?
  • Have you tried turning everything off and on again?
  • Is your username and password correct?
  • And, finally, back to VPN, is your VPN software up-to-date?
  1. “I’m using my own laptop to work from home, but I can’t connect to my work desktop and files.” 🙁

This comes up a lot! If you use Office365 and/or Sharepoint you should be able to login with your work credentials at http://portal.office365.com. Otherwise, ask for your office’s VPN and network drives to be configured on your PC - as above, your company will need to make sure they have enough VPN licenses to go around.

From a business perspective, it is important to guard against the risk of having unvalidated machines attached to the company network.  At the very minimum, you should ensure that all home computers are running Windows 10 and have a reputable working ant-virus solution installed. More tips about using personal devices to work from home

  1. “I’ve brought my work desktop home, but I can’t get it going.” 🙁

To circumvent the security risks and/or lack of availability of home computers, some businesses have elected to send their staff home with their work computers instead.  However, there may still be trouble ahead.

You might have difficulty connecting to the internet because your work computer doesn’t offer wireless connectivity. In this case, you need to use a WI-FI dongle or connect via an ethernet cable.

You also need to ensure that you’re using a monitor, mouse, keyboard etc. with the right connectors for the model of computer you are using.

And… VPN again! … as most desktops aren’t normally taken out of the office, very few have VPN installed, so make sure to get this done before going home.

  1. ‘I want to use Microsoft Teams to hold meetings remotely, but I can’t get the sound to work.” 🙁

If you’ve ever tried to join a Teams (or Zoom, or Webex etc.) meeting and been unable to get the sound to work properly, then you’ll know all too well how frustrating that can be!

Sometimes, you may have a problem if the screen you’ve connected to your computer doesn’t have in-built speakers; in this case so you will need to check that your settings route to another suitable sound output.

Another equally frustrating problem is not being able to turn the camera on.  Many computers have a hotkey that turns the webcam off, so it’s always worth checking this is set to ‘on’ first.

Microsoft Teams also has custom input and output settings that can override your computer’s own settings… so go to settings/devices and check these are all on.

And finally, double check that you have the webcam drivers installed for your model of computer. These are normally automatically installed … but not always!

  1. “I use Office 365 but I can’t see Teams” 🙁

Microsoft Teams is already installed on most computers that use Office 365. The easiest way to find it is to go to the start menu and type ‘Teams’ in the search box. If, for some reason, you still can’t see it, you can go to the Office 365 portal, click on the Business Essentials link and download it from there, selecting the laptop or desktop version as appropriate.

One further point to bear in mind; guest access is disabled by default in teams so if you’re hoping to hold an online meeting with a supplier or customer, you will likely need to ask your System Administrator to turn this feature on first.

We hope you found this quick lowdown on common home working issues helpful. For more information read our 9-point Remote Working Checklist or send us an email with the question you’d like us to address.

If you have a couple of minutes to spare, you can also rate your preparations for remote working. Start here!

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Epoq IT

Written by Epoq IT

Epoq IT builds long-term relationships with businesses that want their IT systems and technology to support their stability, growth and competitive edge. We specialise in helping organisations to achieve and demonstrate regulatory compliance with services that span IT Strategy, IT Security, Continuity, and Support solutions using our proven processes. A complete solution for managing your IT strategy and effectiveness, compliance, risk management and cyber security, our award-winning IT support and consultancy services are flexibly designed to meet your business needs.