With the Covid-19 global pandemic, we’re all currently living in a time of unknowns. Advice surrounding self-isolation, social distancing, and working from home is changing almost daily to keep up with the spread of the virus. At the time of publishing this blog, yesterday’s advice from Boris Johnson included that people should work from home, which means an influx of businesses who have never had that capability in place, now considering their IT needs as a matter of urgency.
We wanted to put together this post regarding the basic considerations required when shifting your business to a working from home model. We have written about this in the past but that has usually been about planning ahead for weather disruption, business owners are understandably wanting to get things in place now.
Accessing the important stuff
Staff who require access to specific software in order to do their job, for example accounting software or customer databases, or shared files which are stored on the server, can connect to the office network using a VPN connection. This is a secure connection which allows them to do so without compromising customer data, and is especially important if working from home relies on them connecting to the internet using any kind of public WiFi.
As well as VPN connections, using a Remote Desktop is another option. This involves connecting remotely to another PC within the office. Depending on what a business needs in order to run, how many people there are, who needs to access what, and what a business already has in place – we sometimes recommend a combination of these options.
Sending and receiving emails
For staff who don’t need access to the business network, but who do need to be able to send and receive work emails, there options. One of these includes a cloud-based solution like Hosted Exchange which we use at Prodigy. It makes email accessible across all devices, PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone and means emails can be accessed easily from anywhere.
This is a particularly good option in this emergency situation where you may not have enough laptops for everyone to work from home, but emails could be added to phones or tablets in order to allow staff to continue working to some degree.
There are a huge number of advantages of a hosted VoIP phone system which we have written about in this post. As it’s web-based, a physical handset isn’t necessary – calls could be made using a laptop with a microphone and speakers. If no-one is available to answer calls, it can be set up to email the voicemail to a designated mailbox as soon as it is recorded, so you can keep track of calls and make sure you don’t miss anything – really important for businesses at the moment.
Although VoIP might not be something you’re thinking of immediately, if the current guidelines and measures are in place for a prolonged period of time (currently at least 12 weeks) it might be something to think about putting in place in the near future to help communication run smoothly.
There are so many other advantages to VoIP for remote working, and we have put together a guide to VoIP detailing these.
So please don’t panic, there ARE technical solutions to help in the currently stressful situation. As you may imagine, we have quite a few requests at the moment getting businesses set up for home working, but the Prodigy team are working extremely hard to ensure everyone is set up and technically looked after as soon as we possibly can.
If you would like to discuss implementing working from home measures or have questions about how we’re dealing with the situation operationally, please get in touch with us and a member of the team will contact you as soon as we can.