Companies have scattered to the wind, once-formidable armies of workers enclosed in glass buildings now sundered, each employee at his or her own outpost, whether kitchen table, home office desk or lap in a quasi-quiet corner.

Flinging employees off the workplace carousel may have been as simple as a single “Go home” order, but ensuring that those workers can do their work from home and be productive at it (or even partially productive), takes work — a lot of work.

The suddenness of the exodus from the office may also have left management, IT and even employees unprepared for the shift. Core and work-critical tools, Microsoft Office among them, may be missing. But money doesn’t grow on trees, not in times of cholera or coronavirus.

Getting Office to sent-home employees won’t be simple. If the firm has stuck with on-premises, perpetually-licensed solutions, beginning to hybridize infrastructure by moving some of it to the cloud will be rough. And if IT hasn’t had a lot of experience dealing with remote workers, there’s a steep learning curve ahead.

But there are ways to cut costs and save money when the first order of business is to get everyone working on business. Computerworld has compiled several of the best options, some for shops that rely on Office 2010, 2013, 2016 or 2019, others for enterprises partly or completely in on Office 365.

Stay healthy. Stay in business.

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