Managing User Experience While Working From Home: A Technical Guide

For some, there’s nothing better than having the flexibility to work from home.

It cuts the commute, reduces stress and gives you some quiet time to think and be productive.

For some, it’s simply a necessity. Whether they’re on childcare duty or having the boiler fixed, they need to be able to keep an eye on things at home while still getting on with their work.

Or it might be that they’re not working from home necessarily, but that they’re away from the office but still need to access their applications securely from an alternate location.

And in more recent times, there has been a huge amount of pressure on IT departments to enable these sorts of capabilities for their own members of staff. But navigating this from both an IT and end-user perspective is sometimes easier said than done – especially if your users don’t have a work laptop or their wifi is poor for example.

However – there is a simpler way.

Below we go through some of the difficulties that many people have experienced while working from home and how you can go about resolving them to optimise your user experience.

 

When you need to access your work desktop

One of the difficulties around working from home is not being able to access everything that’s on a work desktop.

And if your users are working off-site and need access to a particular document or presentation that’s not in a shared folder, suddenly working life can prove a little difficult.

Citrix Remote PC Access however is a way of getting around this issue. Once deployed, users are able to access their own physical office workstation from anywhere via the Citrix HDX protocol. This enables the user to access a desktop with all of the applications they need for work plus their own customisations – giving a familiar user environment while taking advantage of all of Citrix technologies and protocols to enhance the user experience.

The great thing about the Citrix Remote PC functionality is the ease of deployment. Existing Virtual Apps and Desktops customers simply need to deploy the Citrix VDA component on the workstation and enable the connectivity. Alternatively, this functionality can be setup via a Citrix Cloud Service if a customer doesn’t have infrastructure already in place.

And moreover, it can be done through any device such as a laptop, home computer or tablet. Even the operating systems don’t need to match so, for example, you can navigate your Windows 10 based PC via your Mac.

 

When your home Wi-Fi is struggling

Having to support data intensive processes such as video calls and screen sharing all need a reasonable bandwidth as well as upload speed.

And supporting these sorts of functionalities while your users are on a home wifi connection can prove almost impossible.

As well as Teams optimisation, there are multiple capabilities within Citrix to reduce end-to-end roundtrip latency and improve overall processing efficiency – especially on high latency or low bandwidth connections.

In particular, Citrix utilises its own proprietary HDX protocol to compress and optimise the data stream between client and server. This provides users with better performance on remote WAN connections and a greater user experience.

Citrix also uses its own Session Reliability technology to maintain a connection whenever there are any network issues. On other, less robust technology, this may lead to the user having to reconnect every time there is a drop in the home/public network which can become a painful and tedious task over the course of a day.

So, this means that those working remotely – and we mean really remotely – can have their setup optimised for a much more stress-free experience.

 

Ensuring your data is secure

When your users are working outside of the digital parameters of the office, one of the main concerns is having control over your data and who can access it.

Citrix provides secure remote access to Virtual Apps, Desktops and Remote PC via Citrix Gateway. This is a solution that is managed by you and can be deployed on-premises, in any public cloud, or fully managed as a Citrix Cloud Service.

Citrix Gateway provides users with fully encrypted end-to-end secure access and single sign-on to all the virtual, SaaS and web applications they need to be productive.

It can also remove the requirement of managing a VPN for providing remote user access.

Part of Citrix ADC for on-prem deployments, it can provide everything from Load Balancing to Content Switching, SSL Offload, Web App Firewall and more – all of which make working remotely or from home, run a lot more smoothly.

 

Licensing challenges

For many, working from home means getting set up with a work laptop but that also means additional licensing costs.

This in itself can be quite a major barrier in enabling staff to work from home.

Citrix recently released their own DaaS solution called Citrix Managed Desktops (CMD). CMD is a purely cloud based solution running in Azure.

There is no on-premises footprint and you can opt to use your own Azure subscription to enable additional functionality around identity and authentication.

Choose from a set of pre-defined templates such as Win 10, Win 10 + O365, Win 10 Multi-OS or even server 2019 based user workloads. Once again speed to deploy and time to value are a huge value add for this solution. From the time you onboard to Citrix Managed Desktop it is possible to deploy a production ready Win 10 DaaS solution within just a few hours.

 

User personalisation

User personalisation is a key factor in any SBC/VDI based deployment regardless of whether it is cloud based or on-premises.

Citrix can leverage User Personalistion Layers in a non-persistent desktop scenario to ensure user data can be persisted even in non-persistent or pooled setups.

 

A new approach to working from home

As we have seen in more recent times, working from home isn’t just about having flexibility, it’s a necessity. And businesses are seeing a greater need to find new ways to enable working from home – wherever their staff may be and whatever their role.

On the flip side, the solutions need to be robust so that they support a secure working environment to protect data and allow for maximum productivity.

There are many functionalities within Citrix that can enable your business to work in the way that you need. And as a partner, we can help you ensure that your setup is configured in a way that helps you work in the best way possible.

Head over to our Citrix Cloud page to find out how we can help your business with simple, safe and secure solutions to optimise both connectivity and productivity.