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90 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 Thousands of professionals have been work- ing remotely since the 1990s when comput- ers and internet access was introduced in the workplace. In the early 2000s, remote work was primarily practiced by information sys- tems, software development, and customer- facing roles where getting on the phone or on the computer was the core requirement of those activities. In the past 10 years, remote work has increased considerably. According to one source [1] , "At the end of 2016, more than 26 million Americans—about 16% of the total workforce—worked remotely at least part of the time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2005 and 2015, the number of U.S. employees who telecommuted increased by 115%." The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every organization and forced companies to rethink who needs to be on-site to effectively do their jobs. Working remotely has suddenly changed to the preferred work option for many profes- sionals. Service organizations that rely on elec- tronic data delivery have the infrastructure to quickly adapt to remote work environments. However, manufacturing organizations are in a hard spot. The majority of employees need to be on-site to support manufacturing oper- ations where assemblers, technicians, and inspectors work on processing or assembling parts to deliver products that meet customer requirements. Manufacturing organizations have been forced to quickly adapt to provide remote work options for manufacturing support employees. Here is a model to help your organization keep remote work employees fully engaged in sup- porting manufacturing operations. Robust IT Infrastructure Make sure the right infrastructure and imme- diate online technical support are available for all remote employees. The communication platforms should be designed to withstand a large amount of data transfer within the organization. Have the necessary cloud data storage plat- forms in place to make data shar- ing seamless. Standardize Collaboration Tools Establish a common collabo- ration platform for online con- ferences. Common applications that work well and used by many organizations include Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Google Hangouts. There are many Working Remotely: Redesign Your Information Systems Operational Excellence by Alfred Macha, AMT PARTNERS

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