In the light of ongoing news reports regarding the Coronavirus (COVID:19) pandemic, many businesses are now putting business continuity plans in place, which include allowing employees to work from home. Flexible home working is the norm for many organisations including Opus, however, for those where it isn’t we have put together some practical advice and tips to help you stay open for business during the Coronavirus pandemic.
*Please note that tethering your PC to your mobile for email access will be consuming your mobile data allowance, resulting in additional charges should you exceed your allowance. Therefore, you may want to consider purchasing a 30 day SIM-only contract with a larger data allowance or even a multi-network SIM, should you suffer any coverage issues at home.
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Communication between colleagues (and for some with customers too), will be crucial at this time. Having the right communication and collaboration tools in place should be planned for. Meetings can still take place via video conferencing technology for example and many collaboration tools have an in built ‘chat’ functionality to keep lines of communication open and easy.
With an increase in home working likely in the coming weeks and months, comes some risk. Cyber-crime is on the increase already and hackers will no doubt be looking for new opportunities to hack systems, steal sensitive information, or commit online fraud during this time of instability. Keeping your employees safe from possible cyber breaches is a critical part of the planning process.
Considering one or ideally both of these measures is advisable:
Set up a virtual private network (VPN) to create an encrypted connection from each employees’ computer across to the business IT system. VPN services are ideal for securely accessing your work computer systems while out of the office environment, so are an ideal option when looking at remote home working.
Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) for when staff are not in the office. MFA requires users to sign in with a second method to verify their identity using a phone or via an authenticator app. Using multi-factor authentication is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase the security for your organisation by adding an extra layer of security when staff need to work from home.
Carrying out an audit of what equipment staff will need (and if they have it) in order to do their job remotely is important. You may also want to find out if staff have a working space at home that will be conducive to them being able to do their job and stay connected.
Although working from home is the norm for many, for some it may feel like quite a challenge. Checking in on how staff feel about working from home when they aren’t used to it and giving them the opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns will help to ease the transition especially for those who are feeling unsettled.
Here at Opus, many of our staff are used to working from home, so for us as the Coronavirus intensifies, working from home will be business as usual. We have complied our top survival tips if you are faced with having to put a work from home continuity plan in place:
Create the right atmosphere
Try to make sure your working environment is as comfortable as possible. Clear away a space, preferably at a table or desk to allow for a dedicated work space. Keep your work space tidy, especially when you finish for the day to keep you in the right frame of mind for when you start again the following day.
Structure your day
Routine is important for us all in general, so try and keep your working hours at home similar to those in the office. Ensuring you set boundaries between work and non-work time and try to resist the urge to answer emails once you’ve clocked off! If you do need to alter your working hours for any reason while at home, for example if you have young children, then make sure that you communicate the times you are working to your colleagues so they know when you can be contacted.
Working from home can mean you get lots done, but, it can also be an isolating experience, especially if you are used to having lots of colleagues around you. Keeping in touch is vital and knowing that someone is at the end of the phone should you need to talk can really help. Make sure your staff have phone numbers and contact details for those they can contact and make sure they know who to speak to should they be feeling concerned or have questions to ask while at home.
Take regular breaks
When you’re at home, it’s easy to get so absorbed in what you are doing that you don’t take a break. Make sure you set regular times to get up from your chair and take a walk, make a coffee and get mobile. If you are due breaks during the day make sure that you take them and use them as an opportunity to refresh your mind and stretch your legs.
At Opus, our remote working solutions provide your employees with the ability to work from home, whilst retaining communication and collaboration features and functionality they enjoy at the office.
We offer a range of technology solutions to deliver an in-office IT and communications experience, regardless of the physical location.