With the developments in the Coronavirus outbreak over the last few days, users working from home has very quickly become a necessity rather than a luxury for many UK businesses.
We’ve been doing some work with our customers recently on understanding the main drivers in modern business with the goal of de-mystifying the digital revolution and putting it into real life practice for British businesses and IT departments. So while we write this delicately so as not to jump on a crisis in poor taste, we thought there was no better time to bring some remote working tips to your attention, and with it the ways remote working can be smooth, secure and manageable for everyone.
Home working – an opportunity or threat for business?
The opportunity to keep employees productive and active during times like the Coronavirus crisis is clearly a massive bonus for businesses – but with this greater flexibility outside of the safe confines of the office LAN comes an increasing number of potential security risks.
Effective home working is about striking that balance, and to help your organisation achieve this balance we’ve looked at how effective home working can be achieved, as well as 5 top considerations for IT departments to consider when putting policies and tools in place.
Can remote working really be effective?
With the right tools, remote working can be just as effective as office-based environments without needing to physically be together in person.
Remote working is not a new phenomena. In recent years, more and more UK businesses have granted their employees at least some freedom to work from home, and 52% of the global workforce work from home at least once a week on average.
Remote working doesn’t have to be all about rigid 1-hour scheduled meetings with pre-defined agendas. Team sessions like “virtual happy hours” can be a great way of recapturing canteen chats and desk-to-desk banter – everyone just logs in at a pre-defined time, complete with coffee in hand, and chats just like they would in a team meeting.
Effective remote working is all about giving your users the right tools to collaborate whether it’s for a quick chat, regular team call, brainstorming workshop, urgent client requirement, or a more relaxed and social session.
Remote working in 5 steps
Here we list the top things (from ours and our clients’ experience) for IT to consider to facilitate affordable, safe and productive remote working for their users during this time.
Modern, Fit-For-Purpose Laptops And Mobiles
There’s nothing more frustrating for a user than trying to work with an old, wheezy laptop. And it’s obviously unproductive for the business if every click involves waiting for several seconds for the command to be completed. Ensure your users have access to the right tools and apps that their job requires – read more about application packaging here.
One of the biggest objections from business managers with home working is that it’s not as easy for users to collaborate. With tools such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive, video and voice calls, in and out of meeting chats, secure file and folder sharing, and data storage are all catered for.
In the day and age of daily ransomware and malware attacks on UK small and medium sized businesses coming in all shapes and sizes, it’s vital to have modern cyber security arrangements in place. The trick is to figure out what your business’ requirements are, what legal and compliance regulations need to be adhered to in your industry, what the capability overlaps are, and which technologies to select for device, email, data and user security.
Work From Home Policy
While this will span other areas than purely IT arrangements, it’s essential for the business to establish the parameters, scope and support available for home working. Ensure all your users have read and understood the company’s approach to remote working so that all parties are comfortable with the arrangements.
Setting up, monitoring and managing a remote working policy can be a daunting task for small IT departments. Read more about PAV’s approach to this here.
How can PAV help?
All of the above!
Although setting up an effective and secure homeworking arrangement undoubtedly takes some thought and resource, it’s far from doom and gloom.
There are many good, creative things that can be done to address these needs, and neatly marrying up governance approaches, use policies for home working, and technical aspects such as tools and devices, PAV can work with you to build a solution that fits the culture of your organisation – and one that is in line with the high standards that your clients expect of you.
We are here to help businesses create an affordable, safe and productive remote working environment in these difficult times of the Coronavirus outbreak. Even in a crisis, it’s still possible to be productive, and enable your users to collaborate almost as effectively (and perhaps even more efficiently!) than they would do in an office environment.