As Covid19 brings home-working to the front of many business’s minds, Amshire IT‘s Dave Taylor explains how you can get your business ready for a future of remote working.
Flexible working arrangements are an increasingly common demand on employees’ wish lists for new jobs. But the government’s recent announcement that remote and home working will help to control the spread of coronavirus has raised the pressure on businesses to consider if, and how, employees can work from home.
For employees to seamlessly switch from working from home and in the office, one of the main barriers is secure technology.
Fortunately, the rise of cloud-based computing means that more and more can be securely accessed remotely with just an internet connection.
Email is typically the first thing to go into the cloud and the majority of business emails can be accessed through an online portal from any machine. Many CRMs, accounts packages and other modern business software are also cloud based; employees can easily access the same software packages via the Internet as they would in the office, given access to the correct log-in details.
Documents and files are most likely to be stored on a local server, but it is straightforward to move them into cloud-based alternatives, such as Office 365, allowing employees to collaborate on documents remotely.
Another perceived stumbling block to home working can be that it is only possible for staff with company mobile phones and laptops.
While it can take some initial set-up for employees to work on personal laptops or computers at home, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are commonplace, although there are cyber security implications to consider if staff don’t keep machines and anti-virus software up to date. Internet-based phone systems can also allow employees to take their work phone numbers away with them, connecting through apps on personal mobiles to make and receive calls on their work number, or connecting with their computer.
Despite most companies having the technology to support home working, it may not be encouraged due to company culture; putting in more hours at the office and being visible is often perceived as meaning someone works harder, or is somehow better at their job.
However, allowing more flexible work options can help support employees’ work-life balance, which broadly correlates with better mental and physical health, and in turn, higher productivity and better employee engagement. Software such as Microsoft Teams can also be used to help managers keep track on work projects and allow staff to collaborate when working remotely without the need for face-to-face meetings.
As cloud technology has become widespread, it is possible your IT provider can have a business remote-working-ready in as little as a couple of hours bringing benefits to your business for productivity as well as the health and wellbeing of your team.