The Coronavirus (which is now being called COVID-19) is spreading and we will be feeling the effects for a while. As such, businesses should start to make preparations on how to handle things. Your first priority should be for the health of your employees and customers. Then you need to consider business continuity and prepare for mobile or remote working capabilities for you and your staff.
News of the virus, has prompted interest in remote work options for businesses so that things can continue as “normal” even for quarantined staff members. Options such as business collaboration software (O365), virtual desktops (Windows Virtual Desktop), and private networks (VPN’s) can all help.
Even here in Adelaide, South Australia, we have one school student tested positive and all their class mates are being quarantined. I also personally know of other businesses owners who have been overseas and have had to self isolate for two weeks. How will this effect your business if one of you employees (or their family members) tests positive or has recently returned from overseas? Businesses are weighing up their options, which could include:
- Forced holidays?
- Changes to sick leave?
- Encouraging work from home.
The last option appeals to a lot of businesses, but how do employees work remotely? How can they continue collaborating with people they used to sit beside, meet in the office or travel to see? There are a variety of technological solutions that can help.
The Right Solution for Remote Work
Remote workers want a centralised platform with a simplified and secure login process. Business collaboration software is a great enabler of a remote, mobile and flexible work environments. You can replace in-person meetings with text messaging, voice or video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams.
Business collaboration tools also simplify access to file sharing, email and calendars. Employees can use a single sign-on to access your business tools and data. This not only helps with a remote workforce but also supports improved efficiency and increased transparency. Maybe as a business owner you look to examining Office 365 or Microsoft 365 and how it can benefit your business.
Providing a virtual desktop can provide access to important business applications, as well. Virtual desktops in the cloud allow users to work separately from their personal computers. The software virtualizes the user’s unique desktop environment at any workstation. All the data and applications are stored on a central server. Users access apps, folders and data from anywhere, with a consistent and secure experience.
Another option is a VPN or virtual private network. A VPN connects remote computers and smart devices to your company network in a safe and secure manner. Employees can then access their company data as if there were sitting in the office. One potential issue with this method is the speed of the Internet both at your office and at the employees end.
Mobile Work Helps Every Day
You can do nothing and hope that your employees stay healthy and your business remains unaffected, but why take that risk? Empowering remote work will be a huge positive to your business long term even without any of the current threats with benefits such as:
- Remote teams enjoy greater work-life balance. The workers spend less time commuting and are more productive.
- Businesses can save money on physical space and hardware investments.
- Ability for your staff to easier serve clients at the clients own sites.
- Flexible work hours which can lead to expanded support times for your clients.
All these remain true and will provide a positive benefit for your business whether COVID-19 / coronavirus becomes an issue for your business or not.
Do you need help enabling a remote workforce for your business? We can help so please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 8326 4364.
UPDATE: Some organisations are offering free services due to the COVID-19 issues. A list of services offered are listed here – List of Free Software and Services During the Coronavirus Outbreak or https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/software/list-of-free-software-and-services-during-coronavirus-outbreak/