Tag: better connected

What The Future of Work-From-Home Could Look Like After COVID-19

2021 Work From Home

Gage has been preparing small to midsized business (SMB) owners on what to expect in the workplace, after the pandemic. With people working from home in droves, there is plenty of speculation as to where the modern business is headed in terms of remote staff, on-premise staff and hybrid staff. With some experts expecting the earliest vaccine to arrive sometime in 2021, most business owners are assessing their options and planning for their futures, now. As a trusted IT advisor, Gage is helping companies to map out solutions to address the new workplace reality.

The data is crystal-clear when it comes to employee sentiment about the brave, new world of work-from-home (WFH). According to the New York Times and Morning Consult, “In a survey of 1,123 remote workers…86% said they were satisfied with the current arrangements — even when that sometimes meant working from their bedrooms or closets.” Furthermore, more than half of that number, 47% reported they were “very satisfied with the current arrangements.” This isn’t a surprise because of the obvious increases in freedom, flexibility, and productivity spikes which are all natural byproducts of WFH. However, many business owners are still asking themselves questions like, “How do I effectively manage my team? How do I keep our network secure with everyone working-from-home? Which portion of my workers will need to remain in-person vs. remote? How do we foster collaboration and strengthen the company culture?”

The ‘Open Floorplan’ Concept

While the answers to those questions are still moving targets, the pandemic is forcing companies to make these decisions before their lease renews. “Unfortunately, due to health concerns, the ‘open floorplan’ concept is no longer going to be an option for most companies,” stated Jason Landry, VP of Sales of Gage. “As a result of this shift, we’ll see two major movements. First, some businesses will opt to downsize their office space and to reallocate their reduction in cost to strengthen their IT infrastructure as they go full bore into a remote workforce. For companies who double-down and reinvest in commercial real estate, their space demands will grow dramatically, because of the social distancing recommendations.”

“50/50” Offices

Some workers will return to “50/50” offices, where they’re in the-office for 3 days, but out for 2 days, or any variation thereof. Additionally, once employers learn how to take advantage of geological arbitrage, the cost savings that occur when a company budgets a San Francisco salary to hire someone with similar talent from the Midwest, at a much more affordable rate, WFH could likely expand to 4-5 days per week for most workers.

IT Demands

These shifts don’t come without complexity, though. As WFH grows into the new standard, SMBs need to consider the rigorous demands that will place on IT. “Business owners need to understand that if you have 30 employees and one main office, you now need to treat that situation like you have 31 distinct offices. Each one will require a dedicated internet network, firewall, access to private company network and of course, cybersecurity must be thoroughly considered, as well,” added Mr. Landry.

While 45% of home networks are already infected with malware, like keyloggers, a type of malware which records your keystrokes and sends your passwords back to the hacker. Historically, IT departments have never tackled the home office before because of its inherent complexity and the multiple users that utilize the network. The network is only as secure as its weakest link, and if someone’s child is playing online video games and exposing the network to potential threats, there’s a question of where to draw the line. Does the IT department block your child from playing video games? Can your teenager download apps that will make their TikTok videos more likely to “go viral”, when it could affect your company network?


Gage is leading the way and consulting with business to create a clear transition plan to whichever version of WFH suits them. “Fortunately, the technology that Gage deploys enables our customers’ employees to be just as productive at home. We work with our customers to customize solutions that support their WFH objectives,” commented Landry. To learn more about WFH or business solutions, contact Gage today. 

Gage Helps Businesses Deduct Up to $1M on Qualifying Equipment Expenses

Equipment Expenses

Baton Rouge, LA – October 2020 – Gage a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), announced today that it is helping customers take advantage of a substantial tax deduction, outlined by guidance issued from the IRS, also known as Section 179. Section 179 allows businesses to completely deduct the purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or leased during the 2020 tax year. However, the technology or equipment must be operational by the end of the calendar year, December 31, 2020, and with the deadline fast-approaching businesses must leverage its benefits quickly.

Cope With The Unforeseen And Sizable Expenses

Gage is advising its clients about this tax-benefit in order to help businesses cope with the unforeseen and often sizable expenses the pandemic has forced upon them. This comes at a time when many small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are searching for ways to restructure their operations to accommodate for remote workplaces, work-from-home scenarios and/or hybrid-offices, and have discovered how important security is to make this transition happen.

As business owners have done their best to comply with mandatory work-from-home policies, there are often significant costs in making these transitions work. Gage is doing its part to keep the business community informed on how they can reduce their tax liability and weather the storm.

“Small and mid-sized businesses have taken the brunt of this pandemic,” stated Jason Landry, VP of Sales of Gage. “Section 179 is too good of a deal to ignore. It’s a huge discount. If a business is restructuring itself or making an investment in technology or software, they need to know about this exemption.”

What Is Section 179?

Section 179 is affording businesses a golden opportunity to reposition themselves for success, by making investments much more feasible than ever before. The IRS is firmly behind this incentive and has even expanded the maximum expense deduction in the recent years, For tax years beginning after 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) increased the maximum Section 179 expense deduction from $500,000 to $1 million.” (IRS.gov)

As businesses have been confronted with mandates to operate remotely, Section 179 offers a much-needed tax-break to make this transition financially possible. The TCJA also amended the definition of “qualified real property” to mean qualified improvement property and some improvements to nonresidential real property, including roofs; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning property; fire protection and alarm systems; and security systems.

Working Remotely

As a provider of various security-based technologies, Gage is thrilled that businesses can more easily access the security tools they need making their teams more productive and secure as they work from home, and with the assistance of a government subsidy, business owners don’t have to do it all alone.

For example, let’s assume that a business owner wants to invest $125,000 back into their company through qualifying expenses. In the first year, they can deduct the entire $125,000. This means that effectively they would save $43,750 (assuming a 35% tax bracket) on those expenses. This would drive the net cost of the new equipment down to $81,250. Regardless of which equipment the business invests in, Section 179 is a phenomenal program that should not be wasted.

 


For more information or questions about this tax deduction, please call (225) 753-4243 or visit www.gagetelephone.com.

Business Communication and Continuity Through COVID-19

Coronavirus Business Communication

As the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly changing each day, one constant for businesses is a concern for the health and safety of your team. At GAGE, we also understand the importance of business continuity in a time like this, when many businesses are being forced to consider remote work options in order to maintain operations. Over the years, GAGE has supported its customers in the path of hurricanes, floods and extended power outages. We are prepared and have contingency plans in place to deal with any potential issue that may arise from COVID-19. GAGE has been in business for over 40 years, and we continue to have the same mission, even through a crisis: to provide the finest telecommunications and data services that enable our clients to increase their profitability, obtain a competitive advantage, and improve employee productivity.

Many business owners know that down time can be devastating to Small- or Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs). We know you have a lot to think about during this time, and we want you to feel safe and secure with your business. Here are some tips to make sure you are prepared to get your business operations back up and running during a public health emergency like COVID-19 presents:

 

1. Implement Your Disaster Recovery Plan.

The first step is to make sure you are prepared to implement your Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). If your business has an in-house IT team, or an external managed service provider, it is likely that you already have this in place and tested regularly – a great asset in times like these. A well defined DRP includes a list of your critical business functions with an analysis of your processes and recovery plans for each. If you do not have a DRP in place, the first thing you’ll want to do is consider what your critical business functions are.

 

2. Establish a Communication Plan.

Make sure your team knows who to contact and establish a point person for critical projects. Another thing that businesses often overlook is making sure you have your team’s personal contact details up to date. Communicate with your customers and vendors as well if there is critical information they need to know or downtime you are anticipating. 

 

3. Assess Your Infrastructure for Remote Access.

Assess your infrastructure and make sure you’ve considered any complications that could arise in a time like this. Can your employees access certain internal databases for your company if they would need to work from home? Make sure your data is protected and backed up, as well as accessible by your off-site team while they are away from the office.


4. Encourage Your Team To Work Remotely.

As the virus continues to spread, you’ll want to make sure your team is able to work remotely for as long as necessary. You can encourage continued productivity by making sure there is a point person assigned for critical projects, files are accessible, and all employees have the tools and methods in place for ongoing communication. Many SMBs may consider providing their employees with laptops, cell phones and a mobile hotspot to make sure they have what they need to get back up and running remotely. 

 

5. Utilize Cloud VoIP Capabilities.

If you are an existing GAGE Cloud Voice customer, this scenario is exactly what a cloud voice communication system is made for. By default, GAGE Cloud Voice is the most flexible and cost-effective solution in a time like this because its cloud-based communications system allows for remote work and maintaining a healthy work environment through continued connectivity. Maximize your unified communication tools to help with business continuity. Continue to keep your team members in communication with tools like instant messaging, video conferencing  and more. Your system may do more than you know – get in touch with your provider to understand your system’s capabilities, or maybe it’s time to consider upgrading to a new system that allows you to facilitate communication in the event like this. 

 

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If your team needs assistance achieving business continuity with your communications system, please contact us or call 225-753-4243. Our GAGE Cloud Voice platform is truly the last phone system you’ll ever need. More than just a phone system, GAGE Cloud Voice is a cloud based, carrier-class complete VoIP communications solution that gives businesses the ability to be accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device. GAGE Cloud Voice is an invaluable asset during unprecedented situations like the COVID-19 outbreak, and GAGE is prepared to help. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Gage Makes the Best Places to Work in Baton Rouge 2019

Best Places To Work in Baton Rouge 2019

 

Founded on Family, Rooted in Relationships – that’s been at the heart of GAGE since our start in 1980. This year, we’re honored to rank among the 100 Best Places to Work in Baton Rouge, a survey and awards program by the Baton Rouge Business Report dedicated to identifying and recognizing the area’s best employers and providing organizations with valuable employee feedback. 

We attribute the honor to our community-focused approached. Whether it’s Topgolf with the team, volunteering, or Gage family day, we always make time to come together and connect with each other and our community. Our commitment to nurturing relationships is not only at the core of our business, but it’s also what makes us the communications specialists our clients turn to day in and day out. With our customized solutions, valued client relationships, and family culture, GAGE is always available to help you find the best communication solution for you and your business. 

 

About Gage

GAGE joined the Baton Rouge community nearly 40 years ago with a singular focus: to help our friends, neighbors and local businesses stay connected, no matter what. Through the years, our clients have provided us with both support and opportunities to improve our systems and, by extension, their customer experience. 

No matter your needs, we always take a customized approach to build a tailored solution for your company. We work around the clock to provide responsive customer service from real people. We value your time, money and peace-of-mind as much as you do, so you and your business are always our top priority.

We owe so much to you, the Baton Rouge community, for allowing us to serve you for the past 39 years, and we look forward to many more years of working alongside you to stay Better Connected