Businesses across the UK are currently reviewing or updating their continuity plans as the need for remote working becomes a distinct possibility. But while some disruption may be unavoidable, it’s reassuring to remember just how many quick-to-adopt, easy-to-manage digital solutions are out there to ensure your team can work from home efficiently…
Government guidelines and scientific recommendations around Covid-19 are changing on a regular, even daily basis, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your basic strategy in place. In fact, if anything, it makes preparation more important.
For IT managers and chief executives, that could mean asking yourself one simple but potentially unnerving question.
The first thing to do is to dig out that aforementioned business continuity plan, assuming you already have one, and talk through it with senior colleagues. Are there measures in place for events that require an office shutdown or company-wide home working? If so, it’s time to review if they’re still fit for purpose – all too often, businesses forget to update these on a regular basis.
If not, it’s not too late. Fortunately there are countless options, services and programs on the market that can help your organisation quickly prepare for a potentially imminent quarantine.
In fact, even if you’ve already taken steps to close down your HQ or ask colleagues to work from home, you can still act now to rectify the teething problems you’ve identified or improve productivity until normal service is resumed.
So now you’re thinking, let’s get practical…
It goes without saying that if your team only uses desktop computers and phones plugged into wall sockets, you’ll need to consider whether these are suitable for use in home environments. Don’t forget, either, that if a quarantine announcement is made outside of working hours – or even if an employee is on leave on the day it comes – it may be impractical or impossible for your teams to go into the office to collect their bulky devices.
Far better, then, to equip employees with notebooks, smartphones and perhaps even tablets. That portability will ensure every single user has the kit they need to work as normal (while also letting them escape cabin fever by being able to work in different rooms of the house). There’ll be no need for complicated wiring setups or IT knowhow to get started, and you can provide all your standard software, apps and server access for complete continuity.
But surely buying a whole fleet of new computers and phones just to see you through a temporary crisis would break the bank? Well, there are plenty of options, and you might be surprised by how affordable many of them are. Leasing can be perfect at times like this, with low upfront payments and short-term contracts making it far less constraining to acquire new devices.
Our Apple Mobility as a Service package, for example, can give your remote workers the right tools for the job in the form of a Mac notebook, an iPad and an iPhone from just £125 ex VAT per user per month. It even includes complementary services for hardware maintenance, service desk support, device management and ITIL, giving your business the advice and expertise needed to use that new equipment seamlessly.
Happy with your devices? Great – but that’s only half the story.
You also need to ensure your workforce can access the files and resources they need in a quick, easy and secure way. Don’t forget that your users will suddenly be accessing corporate data on home WiFi networks that could be shared with whole families, far slower than you’d like and potentially even vulnerable to hackers – it could be worth thinking about deploying a virtual private network to mitigate these risks.
What about your files themselves, though? You won’t want employees to be unable to find key documents, or to lose access to files because they’re being saved to an employee’s local hard drives than your company server. Now more than ever, you’ll need to operate an effective system that can automatically back up your precious data and your users’ work on a regular basis.
Our managed backup service, DBU24, is popular with businesses in normal circumstances, let alone at bumpier times. It provides safe, secure offsite protection for your intellectual property and assets, with everything held in a UK data centre for easy recover and constant uptime. Our engineers check your drives every day and are a phone call away should you have any questions or concerns – perfect for a little extra peace of mind.
If you’re in the media and entertainment sector, you might be especially concerned about the impact of self-isolation on your day-to-day workflows. After all, how can your teams access the best creative tools from home while your production facility is out of action?
Fortunately, remote access technology has you covered. RPS24, our Remote Production Service, is our customers’ answer to the challenges of maintaining capacity and equipping creatives with their tools no matter where they are. It provides remote access to your production facility’s software, with turnkey solutions for straightforward editing, the option to centralise assets for use by all your editors, and the ability to give your clients remote access to content for approvals.
There’s no end of instant communication apps, collaboration programs and filesharing solutions available to download. Many of them are free and easy for your users to install themselves on their own devices.
In fact, there are far too many to list exhaustively – but to give you a good starting point, here’s a quick selection of apps we recommend for all your home working needs.
These apps are perfect for colleagues used to speaking face to face who still need to work together on projects. Instant messaging is at their core, but both can integrate wider business tools like to-do lists, spreadsheets, file storage and third-party app integration for a complete collaboration experience.
Your weekly meetings don’t have to be a thing of the past just because of an office shutdown. Thanks to video conferencing, screen sharing and secure group messaging functionality, these incredibly popular solutions can keep your teams connected. They can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional phone calls, too.
These are the big three players in cloud storage, all offering simple solutions for your users to upload and access their files while working from home. There are different features and price points for each, so it’s worth reviewing your options carefully before signing up – especially if you have a sizeable workforce or teams that work with large files.
Your perfect planning partner
When potential disruptions loom on the horizon, it’s easy enough to panic or fear the worst. If it all feels a bit daunting, why not have a chat with the experts?
We work with businesses, educational organisations, production houses, freelancers and pretty much everyone else day in, day out to help them develop bespoke remote working processes – so we’re ideally placed to help you prepare, adapt and thrive whatever happens.
Just get in touch with our remote working experts and we’ll be happy to answer your questions or advise you on your best course of action.
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