If you are employed by a company that uses Sage 100 or Sage 100cloud, it’s likely you are experiencing the new work-from-home reality that many people are adjusting to currently as we weather the Coronavirus pandemic.
It goes without saying that health and safety are the top priorities for everyone during these challenging times, and we must also look for ways to keep our businesses running, continue to serve the needs of our customers, and continue to provide employees with ways to work under the new set of circumstances we find ourselves in. At Kissinger, most of us have been working remotely for years, but there are some employees who had to make the transition more recently due to this crisis.
In this blog post, we wanted to share some practical tips specifically for Sage 100 users who may need help with how to access their system from remote locations, as well as some ideas to help anyone who is figuring out how to work from home now, and how to be happy and productive in their new normal.
As a Sage 100 user, it’s never been easier to work remotely and empower your business and customers. Here are a few tools and helpful tips to keep your business on track when you may need to work somewhere other than your office.
There are several ways that you may be able to access your data remotely, and we recommend you work with your Sage Business Partner (definitely contact us for help, if we are your partner) and IT specialist to determine which method is best for your company. Some of your options are:
Set up a terminal server that holds your software and all of its data allowing users to remote in to the server and work within the software.
Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that users can access their work computer through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Citrix from a home computer. For details please reference Sage’s Supported Platform Matrix. Note: Sage 100 Advanced and Premium are most suited for remote access. Sage suggests referring to Chapter 14 of the Installation and Administrator’s Guide for more detailed information.
Back up your data daily and store somewhere so that you can access it remotely.
Visit the Sage Customer Resources page at www.SageCity.com/Resources for additional options, including links to the Sage Knowledgebase, Sage City, and Sage University, as well as Live Chat and Online Case Submission.
One related topic to note is the continuing importance of personally identifiable information (PII) privacy act compliance. While working from home it is best to keep information on company computer networks, and not locally on your personal computer or network. If you do require documents containing PII to be downloaded or printed locally for access, make sure you are still following appropriate data destruction procedures (i.e., shred or permanently delete, etc.), the same as you would in the office. Data is far more vulnerable on your local network or pc than it is on the corporate network.
Our best tips on how to work from home
Lastly, we wanted to end with some ideas for working well from home. The main thing to keep in mind is that many of us are figuring this out together, so try not to stress if things feel uncomfortable at first or you aren’t sure how to make it work. With time, space to consider your needs, and the right technology adjustments, a plan will emerge. And regardless of what’s listed here, you are the person who knows best what sort of arrangement you need; paying attention to your instincts always seems wise. 🙂 Here are some ideas to consider:
Have the right technology tools for your job. Since technology is the key to all of this and the reason work-from-home is even an option, this one goes at the top of the list. Do an assessment of the tech you rely on to do your job and identify any issues to resolve. Talk to your company, if necessary, about getting access to the hardware and software you need, and make sure you have credentials for logging into accounts and other online technology resources. If you need help with IT in general or specific software applications, contact us. Our consultants can help you with the solutions we work with, and we can recommend tech companies we partner with for things you may need.
Make sure you have the bandwidth you need. We’re all looking for more bandwidth these days, but here we’re talking about Internet bandwidth. If you’ll be using video to replace face-to-face meetings and events, you’ll want to do what you can to avoid choppy connections, screen freezes, and other problems. If you can have other users shut down their online usage while you’re doing things that require a strong connection, that can help. (But if your kids are home too, this can be a challenge and might require a family meeting to discuss work-day rules or coordinating online time with your schedule. Good luck!)
Another idea is to add a second source for at-home coverage. For example, in our family, we have three people working from home. To help with bandwidth issues, we added a T9 Mobile Hotspot and switched some of our devices over to that connection, which seems to be easing our challenges and giving everyone the communications abilities they need.
Have a dedicated space for work, if possible. If you can create a workspace that is separate from your living space, that is ideal for focus and also for self-managing your “at work” and “at home” time since they are now happening in the same building. Keeping your work area separate allows you to physically leave at the end of each work session, giving you time to unwind and relax without having the evidence of your work projects in sight. If you can create a workspace with a door that separates it from the rest of your home, even better for “at work” focus and “after work” distance.
Err on the side of overcommunicating. If you aren’t sure, communicate about it. With everyone working from home, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are all on the same page and coordinating well on projects and responsibilities. Being remote and using technology in place of face-to-face communications brings lots of challenges to making sure everyone gets the message. So, when in doubt, pick up the phone or use a video call to make sure no one feels confused or out of the loop.
Know yourself and what you need. This is a big one, and one that you might need to discover as you go, especially if you’ve never worked from home before. It’s a great time for a little inward reflection on your personality, your likes and dislikes, and your personal strengths and challenges. If working from home feels difficult because it lacks structure, you can find ways to create the supportive structure you need. For example, if it feels helpful to dress the way you would normally dress to go into the office so you can start the day in the right frame of mind, then do that. If you tend to “forget” to take breaks when you work at home (guilty!), use your phone or a timer to set alarms to remind you to get up regularly to stretch your legs, take a short walk, or just have a five-minute breather.
And one more thing: when you work from home, it’s really easy to let your work time get out of hand. Try to keep regular hours, just like you would at the office, so you don’t burn yourself out or sacrifice the other aspects of your life, just because your desk is now just a few steps away.
Look for ways to create the social work interactions you enjoyed. If you are missing the social aspects of working with other people in shared workspaces, there might be ways to use technology to regain some of that connection. Some co-workers are scheduling online “social time” with video calls over lunch breaks or outside of work time to get together without a meeting plan or agenda. Pay attention to how you are feeling: working from home can feel very isolating and unwelcome if it isn’t something you were planning or desiring to do. Tune into your feelings and brainstorm ideas for staying connected with your co-workers and friends.
We hope you’ve found this post helpful. Please let us know if there are areas you’re struggling with or if you have any questions about accessing your Sage 100 system or other aspects of transitioning to remote work. If you have ideas on work-from-home tips we missed, please add them in the comments to share with other readers! Thanks!