The coronavirus outbreak around the world is certainly increasing organisations remote working commitments. The likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google have successfully deployed their remote workforces in recent weeks and Infinity Group’s entire workforce is now working remotely using Microsoft Teams.
Here in the UK, businesses are preparing to enable their entire workforce to work remotely should the Coronavirus pandemic continue to develop as predicted. Infinity Group have since implemented our own Coronavirus Pandemic Readiness in line with our Business Continuity plan.
Aside from putting readiness measures in place within your business such as business continuity and communication plans, we have shared some other useful tips to help you embrace remote working.
1: Ensure staff are equipped with the correct equipment.
Ensure you provide all staff with the equipment they need to complete their work. Relying on staff to use their own personal equipment carries a high security risk as this cannot be managed and may hinder productivity if they’re not fit for purpose.
Bring Your Own Device may be a model you promote however, adopting it in light of business continuity to solve an immediate problem without careful planning will likely create more problems than it solves. The launch of the new Windows 10 Virtual Desktop provides a good option for remote working; users can access their desktop from any place and on any device, whilst maintaining high security.
Microsoft 365 offers device management and information rights management solutions that can help secure both devices and data regardless of the model you choose to adopt. Although it is certainly worth enforcing that employees who work remotely need to remember about logging out and locking their screens especially if they choose to work in public locations.
2: Make sure you have a robust communication channel setup
If you are required to close the company in the event of an internal Coronavirus outbreak and all work remotely, make sure you ensure you have a process in place where phones can be quickly and easily diverted to various staff members.
Microsoft Teams provides a great platform for this and a whole host of new features are released regularly. Microsoft Teams calls are easy to setup and you can easily dial an external number and facilitate conference calls with the additional license. A Microsoft Teams conference call can accommodate up to 300 participants enabling you to run full company meetings fast. The messaging feature also lets you chat to specific Teams of people at once in real time. If you are a school or educational establishment, Microsoft Teams for Education is a fantastic platform.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Microsoft are currently offering their full Microsoft Teams license for free. They have also rolled out several new features, increasing accessibility and user experience.
Other telephony options
As an alternative to Microsoft Teams, and if you are keen to have physical handsets, you could consider at implementing a hosted telephony solution such as Horizon or by setting up call forwarding on your existing on premise phone system. For this you would need a monthly license, Bluetooth USB headset, softphone app on your mobile or PC.
3: Ensure all staff have access to the right tools.
If you have a large business, keeping track of the remote working capabilities of all employees can be hard to manage.
As part of our business continuity planning we regularly review our company wide remote working setup by circulating a survey built in Microsoft Forms.
Here are some suggested questions you could use to survey your employees readiness and manage this part of your business continuity going forward.
- Do you own a work laptop?
- Have you used your laptop for working from home before?
- Do you have broadband or fibre connectivity at home?
- Should you be required to work from home, do you have a suitable place to sit and work?
- Do you have Microsoft Teams installed on your machine?
- Do you have a headset that could be used for voice calling? (Or a quiet place in your home to make calls via Teams)
- Are you prepared to use your landline or personal mobile phone to receive inbound and make outbound work calls at home? (using 141 on a landline will prevent someone seeing your number)
- Which office do you typically work from?
- Do you have a good mobile phone signal where you live?
4: Educate employees with tips to stay productive
Remote working for people that are used to working from an office environment can prove a hinderance to productivity. To ensure your remote workers are managed correctly, please ensure you set the boundaries and reinforce that they should take lunchbreaks and work normal office hours they should also be suitably dressed for conference calls. We all remember this cringy video right?!
If you are interested in setting up remote working within your business. Please get in touch.