Should I be letting everyone work from home to avoid the Coronavirus?

With the Coronavirus now officially announced as a pandemic, an increasing number of businesses are encouraging or enforcing their employees to work from home. With some of the UK’s largest businesses including Google, JP Morgan and Coinbase now enforcing a remote-working policy to stop infection. For businesses it’s time for real consideration of the technology available to enable this – and now thanks to advances over the past decade, working remotely is an option open to businesses of any size or sector.

What remote working solutions are open to businesses?

We would recommend getting in touch with us to have a formalised and secured solution designed specifically to your business requirements.
Here are some of our favourite technologies available to all:
• Video conferencing
• Collaboration tools
• Cloud storage
• Virtual Private Network (VPN)
• Cloud access to majority of software solutions

Video Conferencing
Microsoft Teams comes as standard as part of your office 365 package, and out of the box, you will be able to internally instant message, chat, call or video call across your organisation. All laptops are now equipped with built in webcams with speakers and microphones, so you have all the hardware you need to stay in touch across your company.

Collaboration tools
Microsoft Outlook alongside Teams and SharePoint Online (with some configuration from an IT pro) will provide you the ability to collaborate externally with other organisations. Share documents, presentations, images, video calls, instant messaging and file storage with 3rd party suppliers or business partners.

Cloud storage
The solutions from office 365 that include SharePoint Online and OneDrive and are available for cloud-based document storage – allowing access to central files from a remote location. With the right package, you get 1TB as standard of personal storage with OneDrive for business, plenty to keep you going.

Virtual Private Network
Your company HQ will have a router to connect to the internet, this can be configured to securely connect into from any location to provide access your corporate systems as if you are sat in the office. Ensure that the VPN is setup with SSL otherwise you are not secure. Even better, you may be able to enable multi factor authentication to ensure that your connection doesn’t become compromised.

Cloud access to software
Most software packages nowadays are cloud based including CRMs, accounts and marketing tools. This has led to remote working becoming more accessible.

Things to consider from an IT perspective:

As a business it is key to also be aware of the risks and potential solutions when offering working remotely:

Security issues
Employing a remote working solution requires that all routes in are secured, having access from anywhere opens up your system to access from not only you and your staff, but also the bad guys. Ensure an IT specialist is consulted to close open or unsecured ports, and that you use a form of access restricted to certain IP addresses.

Monitoring use
Ensure that the systems that you are remotely accessing are monitored and security logs are reviewed automatically in order to flag any potential breaches of security.

Fixing IT issues
All of Reflective IT’s customers are geared up to work remotely – ensuring everyone benefits from the service level agreements no matter what location. If staff are using their own personal machines, multiple issues can arise that need to be resolved by remoting onto users machines and carry out fixes or just provide a guiding hand.

Aside from reduction in the spread of COVID-19, there are numerous benefits to businesses by introducing they work remotely:

Accessibility for everyone – Video calls, collaborative platforms like Teams, Trello & Google Drive make sure remote workers are able to collaborate and communicate effectively, wherever they are in the world.
Cost savings – With a reduction in workspace, the overheads to the business reduces. In the past few years we have seen a trend with the increase of shared office space such as WeWorks, that offer a more creative environment in a shared and cost-saving space.
Less sick leave – Working remotely can lead to staff having less exposure to illnesses such as colds, flu and the Coronavirus, meaning an increase in staff wellness and reduced downtime.
Enhances morale and happiness – Giving employees the chance to work remotely means a better work/life balance. Less time is spent commuting and more time is spent with family. Content employees are likely to be more productive and put extra effort into your company.
Recruitment pool increased – With remote workers you are no longer limited to a pool of employees in an immediate location.

Whatever your Coronavirus or non COVID-19 remote working requirements are, Reflective IT are here to assist. As one of the major providers of IT based in London, we offer both remote and in-house desktop and server support to manage an organisation’s IT department.

We specialise in an array of award-winning, all-inclusive services, such as outsourced IT support, remote support, consultancy, infrastructure and much more. Contact us today on 0207 317 4535 for outsourcing your IT needs. We’ll look after everything and everyone, with 24-hour-a-day monitoring and efficient problem-solving service to ensure any issues are resolved speedily, so your staff can get on with their jobs – whether remote or not.

Posted in Industry News.