The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has sent the UK into panic mode and if you’ve been following the new’s you’ll know that everyone in the UK has been asked to stop non-essential contact with other people and avoid all unnecessary travel. They have also urged people to start working from home wherever possible, meaning, regardless of your feelings towards Remote Working, it is your duty to protect your staff as best you can!
For further advice and guidance on Coronavirus for employers, check out these websites:
- ACAS: Coronavirus advice for employers and employees
- Gov.UK: COVID-19: Guidance for employers and businesses
Whether you are just getting started or need to update your existing policies, this blog will cover everything you need to know to ensure your business and staff are ready to carry out their duties remotely.
What is remote working?
Remote working is a working style that allows staff to work outside of the traditional office environment and comes hand in hand with flexi-working, which allows employees to work from anywhere at any time, so long as they complete their hours.
In recent years, advances in technology have had a huge impact on the increased number of firms and people working flexibly and remotely. A report by Indeed states that 47% of employees say that whether or not a company has a remote work policy is important to them when looking for a job. And 90% of employees say more flexible arrangements would increase morale.
According to the ONS Labour Force Survey (May 2019), the number of people working from home in the UK has risen from 884,000 to over 1.54 million in the past decade.
Of course, remote working will cause major issues for organisations that don’t have the right technology or structure to support this. So let’s talk about the systems and tools you will need!
How can your team work remotely?
Creating a modern workplace with Microsoft 365 will allow you to access:
- Outlook, Emails to stay up to date
- SharePoint is a place to save and access all of your work files from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Collaborate with your team in real-time on Microsoft Word documents, Excel and PowerPoint, even when you’re all in different locations!
- Teams to chat via instant messaging, share important files to team groups you have made (this could be different departments) and make phone and video calls and even share your screen with your team. If you’re not already using Teams but have a Microsoft 365 license you will be able to download the app onto your laptop and mobile and access all of its features for free.
A modern workplace is a digital and physical space that meets the needs of your business and users, meaning you can continue to work as you would in the office, anytime, any place. All you need is a secure internet connection.
If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription, there is a free version of Teams available for up to 300 users. Alternatively, in response to the increased need for employees to work from home, Microsoft has released a free 6-month trial of Teams that lets an IT Admin roll out the application to users. However, if you already have Office 365 Business Premium or Enterprise E3, then it comes packed with even more features. If you’re interested in trialling a free Microsoft 365 license, get in touch!
It is important to think about your current cyber security and disaster recovery solutions to ensure the security of your data and limit the risk of downtime. It’s times like these that cybercriminals will take advantage of the panic, meaning you and your staff need to be extra vigilant and cyber aware.