The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Listening to Your Team is a Great Way to Overcome Business Challenges

Listening to Your Team is a Great Way to Overcome Business Challenges

While it sounds like a term that only applies to the person with the fanciest title in an organization, business leadership is an important quality for people to demonstrate at all levels. However, when you are the boss, it becomes important that you encourage this comprehensive business leadership amongst your team. Here are a few key questions you should be asking regularly to communicate this responsibility to your team members.

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Tip of the Week: How to Implement Smarter Scheduling

Tip of the Week: How to Implement Smarter Scheduling

If your business is like most, you and your team likely rely on a schedule to keep your processes moving along efficiently… while also ensuring that everyone has something to work on at any time. However, this is often easier said than done, which is why there are now cloud-based software options that make your scheduling efforts a little smarter.

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Smartphone Addiction and Its Effects

Smartphone Addiction and Its Effects

Nowadays, most of us use smartphones; and, yes, probably most of us use them more than is healthy. There are those, however, that have come to depend on their mobile device so much that it completely dominates their lives. As people become even more attached to their phone, the impact this behavior has on their lives becomes more and more detrimental. 

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We’ve Answered Some FAQs About Remote Workers

We’ve Answered Some FAQs About Remote Workers

Worldwide, we’re a good few months into dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, with many nonessential businesses shutting their doors for the time being. Even those industries that can’t just stop their operations are seeking alternatives, leading many to turn to implementing as much of a remote workforce as possible. Many still have questions about doing so, however, so we want to do our best to help answer some of the common questions these business people might ask about remote work.


So, this is really happening, isn’t it?

It sure is. When people are at least strongly encouraged to remain at home (with it becoming enforceable by law in some places if symptoms reveal themselves) and keep even their family members at a distance, you know we aren’t in a great situation.

It also doesn’t help that there are countless organizations and businesses of all shapes and sizes making the effort to implement remote working practices and strategies. It’s a bit of a mess, but it’ll help to “flatten the curve”--basically, help to make sure we don’t exceed the number of simultaneous, hospital-needed infections that our current systems can support. This will help keep the worst-case scenario more manageable to deal with.

Is remote work really worth all the effort?

Given the current situation, it is more or less the best way for essential businesses to do what they can to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 while still providing their necessary services. As states across the country have suspended on-site operations, businesses that can operate remotely can continue to do so, allowing their employees to continue supporting their families and making this shutdown much easier to sustain for a prolonged period of time.

Business recovery statistics being what they are, 40 percent of businesses that shut down in the face of any disaster never reopen, and of those that do, 25 percent of them fail within a year. Furthermore, overall trends show that 90 percent of businesses last less than two years after a disaster has struck. 

So if remaining open in some form helps you avoid becoming one of these data points, remote work is definitely worth it.

What are some of the biggest concerns and challenges?

Of course, there are plenty of obstacles that you will face, starting with your own hang-ups. We’ll get more into these shortly, but we may as well address some of the other, more external challenges now. 

You may be surprised to find out how many of your employees may initially resist the idea of adding remote work capabilities, as the structure of the workplace and the way they communicate will have to change. Anyone in a management position in your organization may be particularly resistant, as it may seem to them that you are removing the point of their title. 

Some employees may also not have the resources at home to effectively do their job, just in terms of equipment. Even if the willingness to work is there, it becomes exponentially more difficult to perform if lacking the technology to do so. 

Are my employees actually going to do their jobs from home?

More than likely, yes. We’ll get into this more below, but chances are a good employee will continue to take their work seriously. With so much of the workforce being unemployed right now, individuals are probably feeling the pressure. They don’t need that pressure from their employers or managers. If you feel like you have certain individuals that aren’t pulling their weight, it’s probably likely that they weren’t pulling their weight under less trying times.

As a manager or small business owner, it is your responsibility to check in and tackle the challenges of remote work with your staff.

Okay, so what do I need to do to avoid these challenges?

As an employer, there are a few steps you can take.

Provide the Equipment and Infrastructure

In order to permit remote capabilities and other collaborative necessities, your employees will need a reliable means to perform their work-related duties, while at the same time maintaining the security of your infrastructure and its data.

There are a few different ways that this can be accomplished. If they use a laptop in the office, rather than a desktop, their laptop can simply be brought home (assuming it has been equipped with the necessary security features and identify verification requirements) for work to be done on it. Otherwise, secure remote access tools can be used from their approved personal workstations in order to effectively complete their tasks.

The cloud also enables many of these capabilities, as an employee could use their credentials to access data from a cloud storage solution, and use a cloud-based application to complete their tasks from their approved personal device.

Maintain and Update Processes

If you have processes that exist within the office, these processes (or some adaptation of them) should be in place as your employees are working remotely. Don’t cancel meetings because a remote worker is involved--figure out a way to tie them in and incorporate them into your proceedings as usual. If your current processes aren’t a good fit, see what needs to be done to tailor them to be.

It may also help your out-of-office employees stay engaged if you start a new process of reaching out to them directly to check in with them, whether it happens individually, as a group, or some combination of the two. This leads us to our next recommended step...

Insist on Inclusive Communication

As we have established, it is fairly common for remote workers to start to feel isolated and dissociated from their coworkers without sufficient involvement with their activities. Make sure all of your employees know about (and are using) the communication tools available to them during this time. If you have generally strict guidelines for their use, you may even consider temporarily lifting these restrictions and allowing your employees to use them for an increased amount of non-work-related communication with their cohorts. This will help to keep your team working cohesively, despite the distance.

Trust Your Employees

On the topic, don’t assume that your employees need to be babysat in order to effectively work from home. While many employers and managers may assume the opposite, most workers can perform just as well in their home as they could coming into the office itself… if not overwork to accomplish just that much more at home. Unless you have a reason to distrust a member of your staff and are working to address that, make sure that your team doesn’t have to jump through any more extra hoops than are necessary to complete their responsibilities from home. Work with them to make it happen.

What should I tell my employees to do?

When discussing all of this with your team, we recommend that you do the following:

Encourage They Form Habits

Schedules, rituals, whatever they want to call them, set patterns of behavior can help make their transition to remote work easier on them while improving their productivity as they do so. Encouraging a “new normal” for them will be best for the time being, and in trying times, some level of predictability is a welcome thing.

Socialize and Collaborate with Coworkers

As we discussed before, one of the biggest threats that remote workers face is a feeling of isolation, which can have significant influence on their personal lives and professional performance. Keeping your coworkers involved with one another’s work and digitally connected can help counter these feelings.

Insist on Being Involved

Remind your employees that, even as the boss, you are part of the team as well. Reach out to your team members on an individual basis and check in personally if that’s an option for you. Showing that you care may not help the situation much, but it is so much better than doing nothing. A little support can go a surprisingly long way.

In the meantime, The Connection, Inc is always here to help support you as your remote team works to keep your business operational. For any IT assistance or collaboration recommendations, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Social Engineering and Your Business

Social Engineering and Your Business

As prevalent as cybersecurity threats unfortunately are today, many users tend to overlook major threats that they just aren’t focused on nearly as much: social engineering attacks. Social engineering attacks are just another means for a cybercriminal to reach their desired ends, and therefore needed to be protected against.

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Tip of the Week: How to Encourage Collaboration

Tip of the Week: How to Encourage Collaboration

Collaboration is a crucial business process in many ways, which means you need to be sure that your entire team is on board and prepared to participate. This week, we’re offering some tips to help you accomplish just this in six simple steps.


Establish and Reinforce Roles

When establishing collaborative habits, it helps to know who is in charge of certain aspects of a project. Without these roles assigned and fully explained, some things are apt to go undone while other things may be done twice (or in other words, redundantly). Team meetings are a good time to practice establishing roles, as someone needs to run the meeting, and someone should be taking note of what is discussed.

Responsibilities, Too

You need to make sure that, as roles are assigned, the responsibilities that go with them are fully explained. Each task needs to be assigned to a specific person, with a specific timeframe that it needs to be accomplished within. This will not only help to ensure that there is no confusion about who needs to attend to what, but it will make sure that actual progress is made toward the final objective.

...And Goals as Well

Goals can be a great motivator, especially when failing to meet them not only affects the group, but the organization as a whole. Keep your goals simple and straightforward from the beginning, as overcomplicating them means that there is more room for interpretation, which opens you up to the wrong milestones being met. Don’t be afraid to touch back on your goals throughout the collaborative process as new considerations come into play - this will help you to stay focused on the group’s objective.

Don’t Shy Away from Conflict

Conflict usually gets a bad reputation, but if leveraged correctly, it can actually be of great benefit to any collaborative effort. The right amount of conflict among a group can help to expose critical issues with a project or identify where some team members need to step up a little. While it may be unpleasant in the moment, constructive conflict can create a better, more cohesive team experience and a better end result.

Establish (and Use) Collaboration Tools

Collaboration is much easier to properly leverage when a team has the right tools for the job. Identifying and deploying the solutions your team needs to work collaboratively - things like cloud storage, mobile computing, and cooperative virtual workspaces - will allow your team to work together, even when they’re physically apart. Of course, once you have these tools implemented, you need to make sure that everyone uses them. Leading by example and using these tools yourself is a good way to get your staff to follow suit; and, once they see how much easier it is to work together using these solutions, it may just become their preference.

Be Open to Ideas, and Give Credit for Good Ones

There are plenty of reasons that you should listen to your staff. After all, they are the ones who are working with the solutions you’ve provided, with the up-close-and-personal perspective that hands-on experience provides. They may think up a solution that you simply don’t have the perspective to consider, or they might just have a better idea. It benefits you and your business to embrace these ideas and leverage them to your advantage.

However, it is also important that the people responsible for these ideas are given their due credit. Otherwise, you run the risk of discouraging further idea sharing, and as a result, missing out on solid ideas that benefit your operations. Transparency in the process will keep your team engaged, motivated to perform to the best of their ability.

At The Connection, Inc, we are well aware of the benefits that collaborative practices can bring. That’s why we offer the solutions that encourage this kind of work. To learn more about what we can offer your business to improve your collaboration and teamwork, reach out to us at (732) 291-5938.

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Your Business May Be Most Vulnerable from the Inside

Your Business May Be Most Vulnerable from the Inside

It can be easy, with all the threats covered in the news, to assume that the biggest dangers to your business all come from the outside. This is a dangerous mistake, as there are plenty of vulnerabilities that originate from within your organization, making it easier for outside threats to come in, if not being bigger threats in and of themselves. Below, we’ll review some of the biggest, mostly internal dangers that your business may face.

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It May Take a While For Windows 10 to Overtake Windows 7

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_now_400.jpgThe hype is still strong for Windows 10, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a great operating system that has the potential to change the way your business performs its daily duties. However, the monthly desktop operating system usage statistics released by NetMarketShare hint that Windows 10 adoption is starting to slow down and that many users are simply opting to keep using Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. What gives?

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  The Connection, Inc is proud to announce the launch of our new website at http://www.tconnection.com. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our servic...

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The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730