Within the past few weeks, thousands of companies have been restructuring their workplaces and moving to remote working. According to The Office of National Statistics 90% of staff would like to work remotely at least part-time by 2021, but the pandemic has forced businesses to implement a work-at-home plan almost overnight.
With many of you constantly reviewing your home working strategy to ensure high productivity levels, security and staff wellbeing, we at Xperience would like to share some of our best practice tips for working remotely.
Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages but it can lead to more distractions which means that at times you may not be as productive.
To overcome this, stick to your usual schedule as if you were at the office – start at your normal time, take your lunch break to give you a break away from your computer and sign off around the same time you normally would as it can be very tempting when working from home to carry on working. Getting dressed and going to your desk, as opposed to sitting on a sofa with a laptop, will give you a sense of a workplace. This will also help you separate work from personal time and unwind at the end of the day.
Also, ensuring that you can access your core systems while working from home has never been more important to make sure that you are productive. If you are working on legacy systems this can be made more difficult, if not impossible. Moving to cloud-based solutions means that you can work from any place, anytime and from any device.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning that cyber-criminals are now launching attacks exploiting the coronavirus pandemic. Most of these are phishing emails with links claiming to have important updates on the virus. This leads to individuals having to deal with a different virus altogether with devices being infected with malware and ransomware.
NCSC urges businesses to follow guidance on how to identify suspicious emails and build a security-aware remote working culture from the start.
To overcome this, it is even more important that you have the same level of security while working from home as you do in the office. To ensure that you maximise security while working from home, make sure that you have the right systems in place such as anti-virus and anti-spam and speak to a reliable provider who can assess any potential gaps in your security defences who can recommend the right systems to help you prepare, protect, detect and respond to cyber security threats.
With government restrictions in place, lack of social interaction may affect many employees. As you can no longer just walk over to your colleague’s desk in the office employees can feel like they are no longer part of a team and this can affect the ability to collaborate with their colleagues.
To overcome this, it’s important to provide several communication tools, such as video conferencing and instant messaging. For less formal conversations and to bring back the sense of workplace community, Microsoft Teams is a great option for real-time collaboration through chat, meetings and calls.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and consequently COVID-19 forced many businesses to rethink their business models, products and services and ‘go digital’ to operate effectively. In other words, companies are now fast-tracking digital transformation to adapt to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
Digital transformation is however more than just a move to remote working. Culture and interpersonal relationships need to be moved into the digital space as well, especially when the circumstances are tough, and you need to keep track on both your order book and employee wellbeing.
Whether upskilling to make the most of out of your remote working tools or learning a completely new skill such us remote employee management, it is essential to keep learning.
For a start set priorities for what is necessary to adapt to the new working circumstances to make sure employees have the right skills and tools to do their jobs effectively. Be strategic about the future and think what might be needed for your business to operate effectively – long term.
We’ve run a series of free webinars across cybersecurity and Office 365 to help you get the most from your IT Platforms, security, productivity, collaboration, and reporting tools.