- 13th March 2020
- Posted by: Mark Dodds
- Category: Anti Virus, Business, Uncategorised
At the time of writing, Coronavirus news is flooding every social feed, news website, and topic of conversation.
The impact of Covid-19 is already far-reaching, but several London-based businesses are taking matters into their own hands, as recently reported by the BBC.
Two of London’s biggest firms, Crossrail and Chevron (who both share a building in Canary Wharf) have advised their teams to avoid coming into work. This prompted the building’s management company to recommend that its tenants adhere to advice from Public Health England (PHE), which still recommends that businesses remain open, even if there has been a confirmed case of Coronavirus within their premises.
If you’re a business owner, you may sympathise with Crossrail and Chevron. But, how can you do your bit to prevent the spread of Covid-19 while maintaining productivity levels?
Let’s cover the first elephant in the room: service workers and anyone else who needs to be physically present at work in order to do their job can’t work from home.
However, even if you have teams who theoretically can work from home, there are still a number of challenges to overcome.
For instance, simply sending your sales team home, laptops in hand, probably isn’t sufficient. Their productivity levels could fall, and your cyber security defences might take a hit if they’re no longer connected to your network.
Do your staff know how to connect to systems when working remotely? And, even if they can, are you sure they have access to every tool and resource needed to be productive?
For some firms, turning to freelance support will be an option, but that too can negatively impact productivity and cause security issues.
Preparing your team to work from home
Let’s assume that you’re willing to overcome the challenges above and that you feel you’ve been given enough reason by PHE to send people home.
Here are four essential steps to prepare your working-from-home environment.
- Make it technically possible
Thankfully, working remotely is eminently possible these days due to the invention of cloud computing.
For instance, with Microsoft Office 365, workers can use software they rely on every day (Outlook, Word, Excel and more) and access all of their files, no matter where they happen to be.
If you’re yet to implement Office 365, now might be the time. The same goes for any other business applications you rely on. If they’re not web-based, check with the vendor to see if you’re missing out.
Lastly, ensure your teams have the right hardware to operate efficiently from home. Laptops and tablets share common ground these days and might be all that’s required to maintain productivity levels.
- Focus on security
As soon as a device leaves your secure computer network, it becomes more susceptible to cyber-attacks. It’s therefore vital that you focus on security during your home working preparations.
It’s advisable to speak to an IT company at this stage. They’ll advise whether you need to implement a secure VPN connection or if you can simply use your cloud-based apps and file storage on any internet connection safely.
If a VPN is required, just make sure users have detailed instructions on how to connect.
- Standardise digital communication
There are so many ways for workers to communicate with one another these days, but that’s both a blessing and a curse.
If you send everyone home without a single channel of digital communication, they’ll turn to whatever suits them (email, WhatsApp, in-app messaging – you name it).
To avoid this inevitable hit on efficiency, ensure everyone has one digital communication tool to work with. Microsoft Teams is one of the best options for keeping employees on the same page. They can communicate on that platform via message, video and more. If WhatsApp is your channel of choice, just make sure everyone is aware.
- Map out tasks and jobs that might be problematic
There will inevitably be a few jobs that can’t be undertaken at home, so it’s important to identify them early on. This will enable you to plan how to either undertake or bypass them during the work-from-home period.
Make the following lists:
- tasks that can be done without a physical presence in the workplace
- tasks that can’t be done – even partially – outside of the office
- tasks you’re unsure whether they can or can’t be undertaken remotely
You can experiment with the tasks in the last list, but for those in the ‘can’t be done’ column, challenge the perception. Why can’t they be done? Is there a tool you’ve overlooked? Is the process simply so old that no one has thought to modernise it?
You’ll be surprised by just how much can be done outside of the workplace.
Providing you follow our advice above and proactively measure the performance of your remote team, Covid-19 shouldn’t halt your productivity.
Want more information?
Here’s a helpful list of useful links:
- World Health Organisation
- Public Health England
- NHS information on Coronavirus
- FAQs from Public Health England
- FCO Travel Advice
- NHS 111 – national assessment helpline for potential COVID-19 cases
- NHS 111 – online Coronavirus service
If you have any queries relating to the strategy we’ve discussed today, or would like to discover the benefits of Office 365 for remote workers, just get in touch with the Compex IT team, today.