How quick can your business get back to work when it comes to IT? Our back to work basics offers key advice to business owners to help them get their business back up and running with IT and remote working solutions during the pandemic.
BUSINESS RECOVERY STRATEGY
Following the release of the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy at the end of May and mid-June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the easing of some restrictions including a return to school for specific age groups and the re-opening of some non-essential shops.
With more recent concerns surfacing about the economic impact of extending lockdown further including millions of job losses, the country could be set to begin carefully opening up again. This means many employees will start returning to workplaces sooner rather than later subject to ensuring employers can meet the government’s guidance for work. But what does this mean for your business and employees?
For starters, returning to the office may not quite be the same experience we used to know, as continued social distancing measures will be strictly enforced. This means you may not be able to able to operate at full capacity within the business premises for some time, hence remote working is likely to remain in place. Furthermore, for many staff who have been furloughed, returning to the office could be an anxious experience, and getting back into a natural routine with IT equipment could present challenges.
With this in mind, we have put together our list of back to work basics and infrastructure essentials to ensure your return to work happens as smoothly as possible, and only when it is safe to do so.
BACK TO WORK BASICS
Is your office layout suitable for social distancing? As part of social distancing measures, offices will need to adapt to social changes in the working environment. As part of your wider risk-assessment, you must ensure your premises adhere to the government advised two-meter where possible social distancing rule. If not, then you may want to consider prolonging or implementing remote working arrangements or weekly shift rotations to ensure you avoid any risk of overcrowding.
Are ALL of your team set up with suitable remote working communication tools? Communication is key, and with hybrid-workplaces combining onsite and virtual users, you will need to ensure that your team are up to speed with essential communication tools like Microsoft Teams.
Is this the end of hot-desking? For the moment yes. To ensure the safety of your employees, it is advisable that hot desk working is avoided, and seat allocation, workspace, and equipment is not shared, keeping it strictly for use of a single intended user.
Is additional IT infrastructure required for vulnerable workers? For many businesses, teams are dynamic, and their employee’s age and health conditions can range widely. With shielding for vulnerable members of the team a legal requirement, your business may need to consider remote working and infrastructure additions to ensure the safety of those individuals at higher risk, whilst enabling them to contribute to the workplace from home.
How will the 14-day isolation period affect your operations? If an employee or one of their family members become Covid-19 symptomatic, they will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Businesses will also need to ensure that any team members who have encountered the affected employee, also isolate at home for 14 days before returning to work. This means you may need to consider additional remote working solutions that allow employees to work flexibly and seamlessly in the office or at home, to minimise disruption and ensure business continuity.
Could employees who travel affect your business? Subject to changes and government guidance, as of July 6th anyone who is planning to leave the UK for business or pleasure will see relaxed travel restrictions. However, this only applies to certain countries of travel. Individuals may have to isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK depending on foreign travel advice country restrictions. This means that if any of your employees have booked to travel outside of the UK, they may have to quarantine for 14 days and businesses may need to explore remote IT solutions to allow them to work from home once they return. Full travel exemptions are available here.
What should you expect on your return to the office? IF your business or users have been away for some time, then the following issues may initially disrupt the productivity of your business:
- Updates: If you have not used your computer since the start of the lockdown, it is likely you will require several updates to your operating system, as well as applications and software. Make sure you allow plenty of time to let these run their course, to ensure your systems receive the necessary updates and patches to fix any potential bugs and security blind spots.
- Expired Passwords: Depending on your information security policy, you may be required to update all your passwords regularly, or it may be that you have forgotten your password. Either way, be sure to follow the key steps prompted using the ‘forgotten password’ option in your accounts. Should your company require assistance, our expert team specialise in IT support for businesses and can help you reset and restore access to essential systems.
- Telephone/Communication Systems: Does your office telephone system allow you to take calls anywhere and on any device? If not, you may need to change your auto-attendant message or remove any call forwarding arrangements you have previously put in place. If you are in any doubt or need to discuss communication solutions with us, our specialist IT consultants are on hand to answer your questions and help you get back up and running again.
- Is your equipment set up correctly for returning users? With many users taking equipment home, you might need to think about moving physical IT equipment such as monitors, printers, and other devices back into the office.
- Do you need to reinstate network access rights? You may have made changes that could affect operational access to your network. Be sure to address this before you plan to return to the office with your IT partner or internal team.
DO YOU NEED ADDITIONAL IT SUPPORT?
Air IT is here to support all your IT needs and ensure your business can work effectively and efficiently – regardless of location. We can help you quickly set up and deploy remote working solutions including cloud communication tools such as VoIP and Microsoft Teams, without needing to attend or visit site.