Contingency Planning: Remote working

As the coronavirus hits fast, it’s time to start making disaster recovery plans and putting firm measures in place that will allow you to function remotely.

It’s more a matter of when, rather than if – and contingency planning isn’t something that can be thrown together at the last minute.

What do I need to do?

To start with, stay positive and focus solely on productivity and business as usual. Secondly, you’ll need to scope out what remote working actually looks like and how to organise it, then you should put a communications strategy in place so that everyone knows what to do. And when.

Remember that if a ‘red flag’ is raised and we’re all called to work remotely, this can be a positive and not a negative step.

You’ll know by your own experiences just how easy it can be in terms of distractions in the workplace.  Well, take that away and you’ve better concentration, and in an environment that’s familiar, too.

You just need to make sure you can talk to your people on a continuous basis.

How do we all stay connected?

By bringing laptops home, there are immediate security concerns. So make sure you brief your staff to lock all devices and never leave them in cars or public places. Think about how they can connect to your applications and share drives, too.

Most of us can log into, for example, Outlook or Microsoft Teams remotely, using our usual logon ID and password. So business as usual in that sense is relatively straightforward.

But if you handle personal, sensitive data, you’ll probably already have a VNP or ‘dongle’ that provides a logon security or key code. If that’s the case, set up a test exercise with your wider workforce to make sure everyone knows how to do this. And with ease.

If you need access to shared drives that generally can’t be accessed outside of work, try to find a way to connect people by using systems like Microsoft Teams etc.

But it you really want to be cutting-edge, video conferencing is probably the way to go. Certainly if you want a fast, efficient method of transferring information and staying engaged with everyone.

Video Conferencing

By using a system like Zoom, you’ll have a NextGen phone system at your fingertips. You’ll be able to stay in touch with your customers in the same way you would if you were back at the office. It’s a reliable and secure way of making and receiving calls, often using a cloud-based system.

Instead of office-based meetings, you can hold Zoom meetings. Using this system will allow you to send real time messages and content sharing; and participants can join in from anywhere, and on any device.

With HD video and audio, and the recording of meetings and transcripts, online meetings – that record their own minutes, too! – have never been as easy.

And if you work in events or an industry that requires you to give presentations or talks,  Zoom’s Video Webinar service will allow you to deliver all that you need to, allowing up to 100 participants to join in at any one time, which is more than a typical competitor.

Is there an upside to all this?

There isn’t an upside to the coronavirus, but there is an upside in terms of how you can handle organisational delivery and focus on continued output.

You may reduce travel time and costs, you may avoid unnecessary meetings; and you may even see an increase in productivity.

Reducing travel omissions is a major focus in us driving economic change, so you might start to see this becoming ‘the norm’. Which is why getting prepared now is the best bet.

Focus on trying to keep things as normal as possible.

Remember, we’re here to help. We’re all part of the same community…

Please call us on 028 9032 8888 (NI) or 01 908 8888 (ROI) if you need to talk through your options.