Web Hosting Blog
The BBC recently reported that the Coronavirus outbreak may change the way we work forever, not just while the virus persists. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, only a minority of people in the UK considered their home to be their place of work. However, with many businesses seeing the benefits of home or remote working, coupled with the uncertainty around going back to the office, many companies are introducing remote working for the foreseeable future.
Some employers are even wondering whether they need a central business premise at all, or whether all of the work they do could be carried out by employees in their homes. If your workplace is taking advantage of remote working for the long term, you may wish to consider adapting your IT, management and communications infrastructure to accommodate this. Below, we look at the key considerations for businesses when changing their business model to remote working.
If you are considering the move to a fully remote workforce, or you are looking to offer employees more flexible working patterns and arrangements, you will need to consider how they access sensitive data outside the office. You may wish to utilise a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which will give employees encrypted access to the internet and allow for secure file sharing.
You may also wish to review training on cybersecurity with your employees, particularly in light of remote working. You should revisit this training along with your cybersecurity policies if you have not done so recently. You should also make changes to the policies and practices to account for the current climate, and the prevalence of remote working going forward. Consider things like insisting employees have basic security on their devices, that they use a secure password, and that they don’t share passwords across email or messaging apps.
If you have moved your entire workforce to remote working, you will understand that this can put a lot of pressure on your IT infrastructure. You could be facing problems such as slow and insecure access to your management systems, which will be frustrating and demotivating for your workforce. Slow and unreliable IT infrastructure can also have a massive effect on productivity, which could affect your profitability as well.
You can solve this problem by moving to cloud-based hosting. Cloud-based IT solutions have the benefit of being able to adapt to fluctuating demand, which your on-premises servers may not be able to handle. All of your employees will be able to access their workspaces easily and from anywhere, so long as they have an internet connection.
We can help you find the right cloud solution to meet the needs of your business. Opting for managed cloud hosting can prevent disaster too. If a breach occurs at your main premises or your data centre, you want to be sure you have a backup of all data so your employees can continue working. Moving to the cloud can provide peace of mind in these situations.
Communication is more important than ever before, and with much of your workforce away from the office, you will need to adapt your communication practices and even the platforms you use to accommodate this. Lack of proper communication can make remote working challenging, and while changing your communication infrastructure can help, you will need to work on the people aspect of communication too.
Working in an office environment makes it easy to build relationships, pick up on body language and see when someone needs a hand with something. When we work from home full-time, we miss out on these key elements of relationship-building in our working lives. You may wish to introduce workplace messenger apps to allow people to interact virtually in a less formal way than email. Programs such as Microsoft Teams, available on M365, are great ways to keep colleagues engaged in their work and connected to other employees while working remotely. It is a minor change, but one that can make all the difference to your company culture.
You may also wish to consider who will oversee all of the infrastructure changes and manage them on an ongoing basis. While you may take on someone to manage your infrastructure, communications and security, it may be more cost-effective to outsource.
A managed hosting provider can take on much of the burden of ensuring your business is kept safe and up and running. You can then delegate the more straightforward tasks (such as writing up a good communications plan) to an existing member of your team such as the office manager. It will be important to sit down and work out exactly what you need to ensure that your business can operate to the best of its ability should remote working continue for the long term. As the year draws to a close, it could be time to get the right infrastructure in place to start the new year with everything you need to thrive in the new normal.
If you’d like to learn more about how any of the above services can help you run a home based workforce more effectively, simply go to our website and get in touch. A friendly member of our expert team will be on hand to help answer any questions you might have.