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Working from home during Coronavirus outbreak: how can your business prepare?

Many questions remain unanswered with regards to Coronavirus, however, there is one thing that is almost certain – it will have a significant impact on businesses across the UK (and globally).

The government has estimated that up to a fifth of workers may be unable to go into work at the height of the outbreak, be it because they have the virus, are self-isolating or for other reasons that require them to remain at home.

With six million workers potentially being unable to get into their usual place of work, it is imperative for us all to look at implementing new ways of working.  Solutions are needed that will allow companies of any size and in any sector to continue operating successfully in the midst of Covid-19 measures.

A positive attitude towards embracing new ways of working will be crucial for successful businesses in the coming weeks, and this includes the implementation of flexible and remote working.  It is inevitable that traditional, office-based businesses will be affected, however companies with more flexible working policies will ultimately have the tools necessary to continue working productively and efficiently.

If you would like some un-biased guidance as to ways in which you could avoid your business being adversely affected by the impact of the Coronavirus, then we have put together some helpful pointers on how to implement flexible working effectively:

Preparing for increased remote working

There are a number of things that you will need to consider when implementing flexible and remote working that will ensure that your team has access to all they may need, whilst also keeping your vital data and documents secure.

The right equipment

Of course, first and foremost you must ensure that your workers have the right equipment to work from home. Whether this is supplying your team members with their own laptop, or the right software to install on their own home computers, you should assess each team member’s requirements and provide the equipment as necessary.

Accessing documents and data

One of the biggest hurdles any business implementing remote working will come across is enabling staff to access everything they may need to continue working from home productively. Whilst previously this may have involved some extensive work on your business’ servers to allow access, cloud software has transformed the way that businesses can access their documents.

Cloud software such as Microsoft 365 is ideal for all businesses (not just those working remotely), as it offers a simple, flexible and scalable solution to access a whole host of programmes, from email, to document sharing, classic Microsoft products to analytics data.  It is widely regarded as being unrivalled in its capabilities.

Communicating with your team

Remote workers must always be kept in the loop when it comes to projects. Whilst this was often done by email, this can quickly become overcrowded with information, making a project much less productive.

Again, software such as Microsoft Teams is the ideal way to resolve this; it will allow you to categorise ‘chats’ based on various areas, meaning that both remote workers and office workers are kept up to date at all times. This will also allow you to embrace new ways of ‘meeting’ with your colleagues, with video chat, conference calls and video meetings available through the Teams software.  In this way, even those self-isolating can remain an integral part of your team.

Security

Security is a huge concern for business owners that want to allow staff members to work from home, but don’t want to compromise their core business by leaving it vulnerable to cyber threats.  Cloud software is consistently updated to ensure risks of cyber-attack are avoided, therefore we recommend keeping all software up to date, protected with effective anti-virus and accessed via a strong password that is regularly changed.

How can we help?

There are many ways that we can help your business to implement flexible, remote working quickly and efficiently, so that your workforce is able to work from home during the Coronavirus outbreak (or indeed at any other time).

Our expert team is on hand to provide a free business health check on all current IT systems to ensure that your remote workers are working safely and securely. For those that don’t have any remote working procedures in place, we are able to provide a thorough analysis and recommendations of what systems will work best for your business, and help you to implement these with minimal downtime.

Ready to discuss remote working? Contact our team today on 01978 858 300.