Using The Tools Used For Working From Home In The Office

Steve Ripper and Dave Hodgdon from Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGIT) discuss the tools you need to work from home, how to use them, and why you need them.

Mike: Steve Ripper, Dave Hodgdon join us from Portsmouth Computer Group. It’s all part of Tech Tuesday and the morning information is then all powered by PCG Portsmouth Computer Group. PCG IT. For world-class IT service and customer support, just go to They’ve got convenient locations in Portsmouth and Dover. And now in Manchester and in Portland, Maine. And with the governor’s relaxation of some of the retail businesses at 50% capacity, are you guys opening up a little bit more, Dave, to the retail outlets or what’s going on there?

Working From Home

Dave Hodgdon: Well, we’re seeing some action happen right now and that’s today’s topic, that we’re seeing, based upon your industry, some people are coming back, but I think a lot of people are still being safe, being cautious. But we’re seeing things change and we think it’s going to be a new way of working here for a lot of people and that’s what we’re talking about.

Mike: Do you think a lot of people, Steve, will be working at home more so even in the next few months to the end of the year, as opposed to… Bosses have said, well, this is a good thing. It’s worked out pretty well, let’s let them do it for three or four days maybe and they can come in one or two days.

Steve Ripper: Mike, I think people found out that maybe there are things that they can do in their job that actually work out better when they’re home. It’s a little quieter, fewer interruptions. And employers have gotten over, if they had that fear of letting their employees work from home where they can’t see them, they got over that too. They had to, Mike. So you’re going to see some more efficiencies where people say I got to be in the office to do this payroll or this task, but maybe this other thing that I need to do, a meeting or maybe their inventory or any kind of things like that, maybe it’s better off at home. You’re going to see more virtual meetings still being used within companies, even if a lot of the employees come back.

How Companies Use Tools for Working Remotely

Mike: Let’s talk about how companies can make use of all the new tools that are out there, all the bells and whistles now that some of these employees will be coming back slowly but surely, but eventually coming back. As the governor said Friday that retail businesses now, even the nonessential businesses, can open up with 50% capacity with the correct amount of physical distancing. Let’s talk about some of those things. I guess video conferencing will still be pretty big, I would imagine, now that people have come to use it and liked it and are using it more frequently, I would imagine.

Steve: Yeah, you’ll start to see it’ll free up conference rooms. Companies have learned that they maybe don’t have to pile into the conference room and fight over the conference room resources. They can just have a video meeting, even if the people are in the office. It works and they’ve gotten used to it and they’ve implemented it. So you’re going to see more of that. Certainly the chat function and the file sharing functions of these utilities, such as Teams, Zoom, they’re still going to be useful. I’ve been banging the drum for a long time to stop using email to send things like a yes, no, I’d like a roast beef sandwich for lunch. You can just chat about these things or even just video conference them. So you’re going to see a lot of these tools still being used going forward.

Mike: And Dave, I was going to say, companies are becoming really… they’re getting good at this now, I guess, right? And they never thought they’d be using the online platforms like Zoom or whatever it might be to hold virtual meetings and get together. People are using it to just get togethers on the weekends now, but they’re getting pretty good at it now.

Dave: I think we see a night and day difference in the last six to eight weeks. We see more employees going to be working remotely and doing their client meetings. We’ve talked about Teams, Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting. I think companies are being more proficient now and I see a lot of expenses being cut. There’ll be a lot less travel, maybe less company vehicles. I think we’ve all learned. PCG is learning right now, how to adjust. And it’s important, you just can’t stay stagnant and look about new ways to be productive.

Mike: People have found that they can be productive by working at home.

Dave: Look at Steve.

Steve:  Yeah, and-

Mike: The most productive guy I know. The most productive guy in the world.

Steve: … exactly. Yeah, I am. I am.

Mike: Wouldn’t you say so, Dave?

Steve: As encouraging as it might be that the governors are starting to talk about maybe lifting and maybe some of us can go back a little bit, as encouraging as that is Mike there’s absolutely the potential for flare ups. So a lot of these tools and abilities and remote access, you don’t want to let them get rusty either because at any point in the next year or more, you might see a point where a company might have to say, hey, we all have to lock down again. Everybody worked from home for the next week. Maybe someone gets an infection, maybe there’s an alert that gets called. We don’t really know how it’s going to play out. So these remote access technologies, these abilities and these ways of working, they’re not going away and a lot of companies shouldn’t let them get rusty.

The Right Tools for Working Remotely

Dave: I think, Mike, a lot of companies have found out some of their issues of doing this, and now they’re going to have to address that that they weren’t quite ready to have the remote workforce, whether it was their employees weren’t equipped with Notebooks. A lot of my customers now are saying we’re only going to buy Notebooks only because we know something’s going to happen. So they’re ready that direction. They didn’t have the right licensing in place or the webcams. After this happened, you could not find a webcam anywhere. It was a rip off. A normal web webcam would be 30 or $40. They were selling them online for $300. And so a lot of people didn’t have that feature, but they’re slowly coming back in stock. But I see people totally changing the way they move forward with their technology.

Mike: It’s interesting, Dave and Steve, you bring up a very good point. You talk about people. They could just rearrange the whole office now and with less office space, knowing that people can work from remote sites, whether it’s home or a home office. It’ll be interesting to see what business owners decide to do. Maybe give up some of that retail space. I don’t know. It’s interesting.

Dave: I think it’s happening, already making a move. You’re starting to see people working effectively remotely. So some of these remote sites, you’ve got nobody in there. You’re paying rent, you’re paying utilities and you don’t know what else is going to happen. Why would you continue to pay, I call it your COGs, your cost of goods? Why would you just keep on spending that? You need to be smarter in how you spend your money.

Mike: One thing-

Steve: And you’re going to see…

Mike: … go ahead, Steve.

Working Remotely in the Future

Steve: Mike, you’re going to see companies start to think about the downsizing of space. Do we need to have these monolithic structures? From a technology standpoint, Mike, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see cameras just incorporated into almost every device. We were fighting that. We didn’t like that idea where we talk about privacy, but then this pandemic thing happens and now you’re going to see monitors with video cameras just built right into them. All laptops will have them in tablets. And you’re going to see a real big push for remote devices that have cameras to just facilitate this new reality that we live in. So employers are going to look at it and said, I need to outfit every one of my employees with the ability to not only work on a device, but be able to check in with that device. And then we’re going to see, and just as far as trends go, Mike, we’re going to start to see more and more software for employers to manage their, and view and be able to track, their employee’s time. Just more than just the simple time sheet that a lot of companies use. You’re going to see more of an adoption of software that just says, where are you and how are you doing your time and what are you doing today so that people don’t have to constantly keep checking in physically.

Dave: Mike, I’m seeing a lot of my employees, when I check in with them, of course they need to travel, take their kids to an appointment or they’re going somewhere, the application’s on the phone too, so it’s not like they’re not available for you at all times. So these applications will all run in your phone and you can very easily do a Teams or WebEx directly off somebody’s phone, which is a great feature.

Mike: So it’s technology that is… obviously technology’s going to play a huge role here as people transition to slowly coming back to office space, but also it has allowed us to create that balance that’s been so difficult between home and work, I guess. We can combine them now.

Dave: I see hiring changing. Not everyone needs to live near the office anymore. I think I, myself, now had to think people came to work, so I think we did a survey result, Mike, a survey result that came back, and it’s amazing what the employees are saying that working from home is actually better for them. They like having that work balance. They have kids. We’re seeing productivity going up. So I think it was a wake up call for me and I think it will be a wake up call for many people.

Mike: Well, as they say-

Dave: We are definitely seeing right now is the time your business needs to start planning. You need to be thinking about the cloud. As Steve mentioned earlier, you need to be ready. How are you going to run your business? You need to make sure your remote workforce is ready with Notebooks, the cameras, the necessary monitors, and all, the bottom, the most important thing is working from home has opened up. We’re still seeing many, many. We spoke about it before, Mike, we’re seeing many, many cyber crimes happening. So security has to be on top of mind to protect your business assets.

Mike: … absolutely. With all this pandemic stuff going on, there’s always some good things that actually come out of a horrible situation. This is one of the good things and people will start reinventing how they work and where they work. You can call Portsmouth Computer Group, our good friends, Dave and Steve. They’re available at 603-431-4121. That’s 603-431-4121. Any final words, Dave, today on Tech Tuesday.

Dave: I think it’s one of those great weeks to celebrate your mom. My mom’s right here locally. They’re even using technology now, Mike, that I met with her via Zoom right now, so it’s a little bit different, but the mom is isolated in a room. They just love seeing you. So be good. Get out there and enjoy some of that May weather.

Mike: Absolutely. Thank you, Steve. Thank you, Dave. Good to talk to you guys. as always. The folks from Portsmouth-

Steve: Bye, Mike.

Mike: … bye, guys. The folks from Portsmouth Computer Group here on WTSM. PCG IT. For world-class It service and customer support, go to You can call them up at 603-431-4121.