Making Up for the Shortcomings in a Hybrid Work Strategy

Remote operations were the norm for some time during the pandemic, but now, hybrid operations have largely taken over fully-remote operations. The unfortunate fact of this change, however, is that your employees in the office are getting more out of meetings. Let’s discuss how you can make meetings more equitable for everyone involved, both remote employees and in-house staff.

Hybrid Meetings Present Both Benefits and Challenges

Hybrid meetings have loads of benefits, as they offer a flexibility that was previously unheard of for attendees. If people could not attend in person, they would have to catch up later, but nowadays, most meetings are recorded so that staff can view them at a later time.

In some ways, it makes your meetings more inclusive to conduct them this way, and it can boost engagement in the process, but it’s not the silver bullet for solving all of your meeting problems. Hybrid meetings tend to be dominated by those who are actually in the conference room, with remote participants acting more like a background audience. It goes without saying that this is not the point of hybrid meetings, so how do you resolve it?

Everyone Needs to Invest Some Effort

Depending on your role in the meeting, there might be different methods you can use to make your hybrid meeting more equitable for everyone.

For the Remote Attendee

  • Turn on the camera: When you show your face to the others, your team members will know you are present and ready to interact with them. Logitech confirms this fact with a statistic that says webcam interaction increases effectiveness, participation, and satisfaction by 20-50%.
  • Be engaging: It’s important that you prioritize collaboration amongst your remote employees, and that means encouraging them to interact in much the same way they would if they were in an in-person meeting.
  • Be prepared to participate: Before each meeting, confirm that your remote employees can interact with your team, i.e. their camera works, their microphones work, etc. This will confirm that, if they have something to contribute, they can and most likely will.

For the In-Person Attendee

  • Remain cognizant of the remote experience: Your remote employees already know they are remote, so your in-house employees should also keep this in mind, too. If videos freeze up or audio cuts out, it’s important to treat it with understanding and empathy.
  • Stay focused: Side conversations, or those that remote participants cannot really partake in, are rude and unproductive. Keep your meetings focused to avoid these kinds of conversations.
  • Treat the camera like a person: It might seem a bit odd to look into a camera lens like it’s a human being, but this doesn’t make it any less important. Do this from time to time to make sure your remote employees feel involved, seen, and heard.

For the Meeting Facilitator

  • Delegate speaking time: Remember, you’re in charge of the meeting, so you have more control over who participates than you think. You can assign roles and duties in relation to the meeting and its topic to ensure everyone has a voice.
  • Involve some controlled small talk: That said, your employees are not going to be productive throughout the entire meeting, so don’t try to force them to be. Provide some time for your team members to have off-topic discussions so that your remote and in-house teams can connect with each other the way they might in the office.

Properly Managing Your Hybrid Strategy Also Involves IT

No matter what kinds of meetings you are holding, you’ll need the technology to support them. AE Technology Group can equip your team with the tools they need to take part in meetings and engage with your workplace in whatever way they need to. Contact us today to learn more at (516) 536-5006.

Network Maintenance 101

A network is simply a group of two or more devices connected to work with each other.

Most organizations need their systems to be interconnected, so think of a network as a building bridge between all the available systems (computers) in a firm. This helps companies stay updated and saves time by providing relevant information to all employees in different departments.

It is very important to keep a network maintained properly to get the most out of it.

What is network maintenance?

In simplest words, network maintenance is all the tasks and systems and whatever it takes for you to keep a network up and running. Network maintenance can be tricky and since it plays a vital part in a company’s growth, we need to understand it completely. For that, we will focus on all the network maintenance tasks that are included in different activities. One needs to be familiar with them to understand the term completely. These tasks include:

  • Installing
  • Replacing
  • Upgrading both hardware and software
  • Monitoring
  • Tuning
  • Optimizing the network

Maintaining a network not only helps with decreasing the probability of problem occurrence but also makes it a lot easier to troubleshoot. After a complete understanding of network maintenance, we need to know who conducts network maintenance.

Who conducts network maintenance?

Generally, it depends on the organization to choose who does the job for network maintenance, but here are the three most common approaches overseeing network maintenance:

Internal IT staff:

Some companies prefer In-house IT employees to do the job for them, they manage network devices, monitor traffic, and data storage.

Third-Party Maintenance (TPM):

This requires outsourcing a network maintenance plan. One benefit of which is a more detailed and customized network maintenance program.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM):

This is when your company’s software comes with a maintenance contract delivered by the OEM. Companies opt for OEMs for smooth installations and timely system updates, though these are not as thorough in network maintenance as third-party maintenance but are more cost-effective.

To make it easier for you to understand networking maintenance tasks, let us go through each one of them.

Troubleshooting network Issues:

The word troubleshoot in its literal meaning is to trace and correct faults. When a network problem is about to occur, it may give you warnings beforehand. It is vital to get those warnings noticed before they turn into bigger and costlier issues. Troubleshooting can help diagnose the problem right away and give you the possible measures to solve the occurred issue.

Installing and configuring products:

Installing and configuring comes as part of setting up a product to get it into use. When you get a new product, you’re most likely to set it up and install its software and keep it updated. Installation is where you set up and transfer software files to your system from a source. Configuration includes the choices made during the setup to make sure it meets your needs.

Monitoring and improving network performance:

We have understood by now, that network performance can make or break your company. It is crucial to keep monitoring and improving your network performance.

How does one know if the network is working up to the mark and if there is a need for improvement? Comparison! Comparison can help you troubleshoot and maintain your network well.

Planning for growth:

For a business to grow, one always looks forward to expanding goals over time. If your network system is maintained vigilantly, growth comes along as a reward.

It is said to invest in network maintenance to grow your business at a smoother pace. A planned network is an effective one. If your company works on a proper network plan, it is more likely to have lesser issues in networking, since all the work is proactively planned.

To plan for growth your need to:

  • Keep documentation.
  • Monitoring potential problems on a day-to-day basis.
  • Keep a backup of data.

Ensuring Compliance:

If you plan on working long-term and do not want to get into any high-risk situations, you need to ensure compliance. Compliance means following the specifications of a rule.

From a broader perspective, ensuring compliance relates to legal and regulatory frameworks.

With the right network maintenance program, you can easily make sure that your company is regulated properly and is not at risk of any legal regulation.

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Tip of the Week: Ways to Improve Focus

While we all like to think we are paragons of productivity, the reality of the matter is that it’s far too easy to become distracted while trying to get work done. How do you stay focused when there are so many distractions out there? It all starts with controlling your environment and changing the way you approach these workplace distractions. 

Don’t Ignore Distractions 

If you ever try to ignore something that is bothering you, then you know that ignoring it doesn’t do much to help the issue. Let’s say that you are trying to write an email, but people are always visiting your office and distracting you from writing it. If you don’t address the issue–-in this case, people visiting your office–-then you can’t complete the task, or at the very least, the solution will be prolonged more than it needs to be. Now, if you close the door and ignore the distractions, then you might be able to get the task done in a timely manner. You can take this approach to many types of distractions; acknowledge that there is a problem and act to prevent it. 

Focus on Being Proactive 

When it comes to your day-to-day routine in the office, how much time do you spend responding to issues rather than actively working to prevent them? This is one of the biggest distractions out there. You might be too busy responding to various things that pop up throughout the day, preventing you from getting to your own tasks or whatever you have scheduled. Instead of reacting to others, take a proactive approach. Be intentional with how you spend your time and work to actively prevent problems from derailing your productivity. One big way you can minimize distractions is to keep your technology in proper working order through proactive maintenance. If you keep your computers up-to-date and maintained, then they will be less likely to create distractions for you when they break down entirely. 

Minimize Digital Distractions Whenever Possible 

Technology might be great for fulfilling your daily duties, but it can also be an unnecessary distraction. If you utilize services like social media, then you know how endless notifications can be, and that’s not to mention all of the emails, text messages, phone calls, and more that you might deal with on the regular. You can disable certain notifications during the workday to ensure that you can stay on-task while in the office. Better yet, separate yourself from your mobile device entirely or put up website blockers to keep yourself from wasting too much time on these websites or applications. 


It can be difficult to keep yourself away from distractions, but it doesn’t have to be. With AE Technology Group on your side, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle just about any technology-related distraction. To learn more about how we can help you stay on task throughout the workday, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006. 

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Your Business Can Benefit from RICE Prioritization Framework

You may have heard of the RICE prioritization framework for developing new products, but we believe that it can be applied to not just products, but also to services and even project implementation practices. What is this framework, and how can you use it when developing new ideas for your business?

What Does the RICE Prioritization Framework Model Mean?

RICE stands for Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort. All of these work toward the success of any potential goods you offer or solution implementations. To get the greatest return on your investment and to improve the odds of success, you will want to take all of these factors into account. If done correctly, it will help you determine if what you want to do is actually a good idea.


Instead of thinking about which services you might use, think about the ones that most people within your target market will find useful or helpful. For technology, for example, you might not consider the solutions you yourself would use, but instead might focus your efforts on technology that would have the greatest reach within your organization. What could you implement that would be a game-changer for your staff?


Impact can be difficult to generalize, but we’ll do our best to explain it. Essentially, you are thinking of it in terms of how greatly a consumer or an employee is affected by the product, service, or solution you are trying to deploy. You might say, for example, that implementing a Voice over IP phone system would have a relatively high impact on your individual employees’ productivity.


When you get excited to implement a solution or product, it’s easy to get caught up in it and throw all logical thinking out the window. Still, you should only be implementing solutions or putting out products/services that you have a high level of confidence in.


Finally, make sure that anything you choose to implement for your organization will be a worthwhile investment in terms of time and effort. Take a look at how long it will take to get the project off the ground, all while factoring in the amount of time you are investing into the research and planning phases.

AE Technology Group wants to help you implement new technology solutions for your business! Hopefully, this article helped you understand how the RICE Prioritization Framework can benefit your business. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

How Get the Most Out of Your POS System

hand working point of sale system at a store

Many small businesses that provide goods or services have a Point of Sale, or POS, as the primary workstation. As such, many of the business’ core processes run through it. These systems have a plethora of great features that are built right into them, and if you fail to take advantage of them, you could be wasting valuable time and resources.

The truth is that a POS system is not just a cash register; it is a central hub for the management of your business. Some of their more advanced options can fly under the average user’s radar, so let’s make sure you don’t miss out on taking advantage of them!

Choose the Right Terminal Structure

POS systems require terminals to work, and there are several different ways that these terminals can appear. You should choose the right one to fit your organization’s needs. Here are four ways you can implement a POS system:


Traditional on-premise POS systems are your typical systems. Basically, the business hosts the server at the location, and the POS system runs on local hardware. In-store POS systems are great for small businesses that don’t require anything too technical in the backend computing system. This type of POS system is common in retail and hospitality, and they have some higher costs in terms of hardware maintenance and management, but they are overall quite easy to use and secure.


If you host your POS system in the cloud, you can reap the benefits of saving on capital costs. You also don’t have to worry about maintaining hardware, as the provider will likely be the one handling that responsibility. Cloud-hosted POS systems are generally quite affordable and reliable, as long as your Internet connection is stable. With most cloud systems, however, security can often be a sticking point, and you are out of luck if the Internet goes down for any number of reasons.


Mobile POS systems use some type of external hardware connected to a tablet or smartphone. These can save businesses plenty of money, but there are downsides when it comes to maintaining the technology, as tablets and smartphones are prone to damage every so often compared to a register that just sits on the counter all day.


Self-service kiosks have really taken off in popularity as of late, as they reduce the need for customer interaction, saving time and money by freeing employees to perform other tasks. This has the downside of alienating customers who are not particularly tech-savvy, though, and customers might complain when they inevitably experience problems with the system.

Before you can choose the correct POS system for your business, you must first understand what the consumer needs. From a retail perspective, something with a barcode scanner integrated into it would be ideal, as well as a reliable printer. A restaurant, on the other hand, might need a scheduling program that can handle reservations. The same can be said for a hotel or salon, which might need booking systems. Therefore, we urge you to carefully consider what the best fit for your business’ customers is.

Understand POS features

While there might be many different POS systems to choose from, there are even more decisions to be made in terms of specific hardware and software. Other features you should consider include:

  • Inventory control
  • Payment processing
  • Return pricing
  • Labor management
  • Integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) capabilities including supply chain management
  • Reports and analysis

These features are some of the most common ones that provide high-efficiency gain for businesses when used with a POS system. With integrated ERP capabilities, companies can more effectively control the supply chain right from the POS system, taking inventory management to the next level. Out of all of the above, we think this has the possibility to make the biggest difference for businesses.

Let’s use a restaurant owner as an example. With a label maker, you can easily manage inventory by adding barcodes to products on your shelves. This helps staff know when it is time to order more products, and it is only possible in any easy capacity thanks to a POS system utilizing the above system.

POS systems can even handle the time management aspect of your business, including scheduling, reservations, employee time cards, and other needs. Thanks to cloud-hosted solutions, scheduling, and other employee information can easily be shared online so that businesses can ensure they are always staffed accordingly.

If you correctly utilize all of the features of your POS system, you might be surprised by how much control this gives you over aspects of your business that you might not have foreseen. You can even customize reports and analyze operational information, giving you the knowledge it needs to make informed decisions.

AE Technology Group can help your business implement the correct POS system for its needs. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.