COVID-19: Business as Usual – From Anywhere

Reports suggest that up to one-fifth of the working population ‘could be off sick at the same time’ during the peak of a coronavirus epidemic. In response, businesses are planning for high staff absenteeism and are putting in place precautions to keep work moving during this period of uncertainty. 

So, what should you be considering? 

The three areas of focus during any situation that challenges normal operations are as follows: 

  • Impact to systems – does the event have a potential impact on our systems? 
  • Impact to location – is where we deliver our service affected and what is our response? 
  • Impact to people – are we prepared should there be an impact on the individuals responsible for delivering services to our customers? 

What next? 

Although we can’t comment on the science surrounding the issue, we are experts in facilitating remote working. Therefore, we’ve penned this article to help you prepare for any possible isolation and the increased requirement to work from home. 

Below, we share some insight into how to prepare for remote working. So, if Coronavirus impacts your operations, your business can continue to operate efficiently. 

How can you benefit from remote working? 

Depending on what contingency plans you have in place, you may have already considered the technologies you may need in place to ensure remote working is a seamless, secure and stress-free process for everyone during this tense time. 

If the thought of remote working fills you with dread or makes you feel as if you’re losing control, have no fear. There are many powerful tools to help you maintain productivity from afar. 

Perfect Project Management 

A sudden change in the way your team works or communicated will inevitably disturb your processes. Microsoft Planner is our favourite project management tool and comes as part of your Office 365 subscription. Planner streamlines all areas of project management.  It helps you to: 

  • Create projects and assign tasks to the right person 
  • Attach relevant documents 
  • Monitor when employees’ complete tasks 
  • Visualise project progress or roadblocks 
  • Communicate with your team

However, if you’re looking for even more out of planner, including sophisticated reports that help you to stay organised, focused and in charge, it may be worth considering Microsoft Project.

Tip for Maintaining Productivity:

In order to maintain a high level of productivity in your remote workforce, you should encourage employees to follow good practice by taking breaks, having set working hours and encouraging them to keep a to-do list. This was found to aid overall productivity by over 30%

Team Whereabouts

Whether you’re billing clients by the hour, trying to align multiple schedules or just want to know what your team is working on, Microsoft Shifts can help you manage your efficiency.

Shifts in Microsoft Teams is a schedule management tool that helps you create, update, and manage schedules for your team. Here are some of the great features it includes:

  • Schedules: create a new schedule or import from Excel
  • Day Notes: include important news and reminders for specific days
  • Groups: group employees by location or job title
  • Requests: review requests for time-off, shift swaps, or offers
  • Time Clock: clock in and out to keep on top of hours

Time tracking tools can help you ensure that your employees aren’t overworking and manage their wellbeing from afar. It has been found that remote workers work an extra 16.8 days every year vs their office counterparts.

Ensure Seamless Collaboration

Microsoft Teams is invaluable. In simple terms, it’s a tool for real-time discussion and collaboration.  It integrates with all other Microsoft Apps and helps you to communicate through direct messaging, calls or video conferencing, share documents and keep projects on track.  It’s a fantastic tool for managing your business in one place and, as with Planner, Teams comes as part of your Office 365 subscription. 

Share Documents Online

Moving all your files onto a system like SharePoint enables your team to access any document, at any time, from anywhere.

Sharepoint’s live syncing feature enables the latest documents to be downloaded from any device. Control who has access to specific folders and integrate dual-factor authentication to make sure your business data is protected when your team is working remotely.

For personal files and folders, we recommend OneDrive. This personal cloud storage enables you to save and access your files and photos from any device, anywhere.

How Do I Stay Safe and Secure from Anywhere? 

Implementing the correct IT technology can make or break the reality of your flexible working arrangements. If you were considering moving to remote working anyway, or whether COVID-19 has accelerated your decision, it is important to invest in the right IT infrastructure to ensure that your business remains safe and secure from anywhere. 

For tips on how to work anywhere, check out our top security tips. They cover: 

  • Setting up a VPN 
  • Protecting your business when working remotely 
  • Communicating through the latest technology

Need Help Achieving Secure Remote Working? 

We regularly assist businesses with their flexible working set-ups and have been assured that Microsoft has everything in place to help us support you and keep your business up and running during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

If you need some help enabling secure remote working, contact us today to get the ball rolling.