Remote Working Support Services For Staff Working At Home
Using ICT to work remotely and safely during the “C” Word alert
The spread of the coronavirus has led to the UK finding itself in the midst of a global pandemic
Foremost a health issue, the effect of the coronavirus epidemic is also inevitably impacting businesses everywhere – how can staff keep working, how can access to critical systems be preserved and how can IT hygiene be maximised to prevent the spread of germs ?
Also, Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the news, including using logos from trusted sources like the World Health Organization in phishing emails and hiding malware in COVID-19 online trackers. Your employees, especially your remote workforce, and clients are at risk – be aware of the activity !
Coronavirus and working from home
Working from home or self-isolating (if showing signs of illness) is expected to increase in the coming weeks and perhaps months. Remote working poses special challenges for workers and employers. Firms with staff working remotely will want to consider:
- Access to the right equipment and software – do staff have access to the right IT equipment to do their job remotely? Can they access files remotely and securely? Your work based systems may well be covered by anti virus and other protective features that will need to be replicated on home based systems.
- Seamless Diversion of Telephony – Many Telephony solutions will be able to be accessed remotely, with any additional components required sent out to the recipients home address.
- Reliable internet access – e.g. checking broadband speeds to assess ability for home working.
- Good cybersecurity – reflecting practices in the workplace, staff will need good cyber security at home to protect against the company’s confidential data being compromised or networks becoming subject to malware or other cybercrime.
- Confidentiality –Typically in the workplace, access to premises would be restricted to employees or known agents only. Not so at home, so one should be aware of other people in your home, and not leave access open when not attended.
Using ICT for Business Continuity
Of course not all businesses and workers are able to work from home – caring services, airport staff, supplies and delivery firms are just a few examples of where staff need to show up to a workplace. Whether you or your staff are working from home, or in a workplace with a reduced staff due to illness or absence, businesses will need to take some steps to ensure things are running as smoothly as possible in the current extraordinary circumstances. This is why it’s essential to have a business continuity plan in place which guides you and your staff when external factors adversely impact the business. Some factors to consider include:
- Maintaining access to critical systems – when key staff are away, what are your plans for accessing the systems they run/operate? Teams need to ensure there are alternative ways of accessing the knowledge and information of key absent staff – from passwords to protocols, it’s an elementary part of business continuity.
- Access to networks – can you and your staff access your company’s networks from home? Do you have the correct software and protections to allow seamless and safe access from home?
- Diverting office phones – when the unexpected happens, do you know how to divert your office numbers to other numbers so that you don’t lose important calls from potential customers.
Keeping your ICT hygienic
Another important factor highlighted by the current coronavirus threat is the need to pay more attention to IT hygiene. At the best of times all types of IT equipment can attract and retain everyday dirt and germs.
- ICT equipment such as phones, keyboards, monitors, laptops and computer mouses are handled frequently and often by different people. During the current coronavirus alert it’s more important than ever to ensure that IT equipment is kept clean and germ-free.
- Communal areas and shared devices; be aware of where your teams might congregate for access to network printers and photocopiers and do your utmost to keep these
- Hot-desking can be even more risky in terms of transferring germs and so it’s important to develop good hygiene practices to protect yourself and your co-workers.
- Whether you’re still working in an office or now working remotely at home, it’s vital that equipment is cleaned regularly and in a way which will not damage it – manufacturers have warned that some surfaces can be harmed by using the wrong cleaners.
Some extra precautionary measures in the current climate may be obvious but will go a long way in protecting IT device users.
360ict CORONAVIRUS POLICY
We have with immediate effect closed our offices and all personnel are now working from home. This will have no impact on access to services, we are able to work remotely via both telecoms and data services. On-site visits will continue when and where necessary in line with Government guidelines.
As you know our service is proactive and we utilise various monitoring and management software to keep your systems up to date and in optimum working condition. Alongside this we already have partnerships with other back up service organisations to ensure that there is contingency.
The core team you deal with are of course still available and you can still access all our services in the usual way. With regards to additional projects such as new systems supply and installations, please contact Tracy Wright directly with any requirements so we can discuss and agree the best way to deliver the solutions you need within the current environment.
As part of our current Covid-19 Policy we are offering home working setups to all of our customers who have charitable or not for profit status or are government health agencies free of charge.
We are having to employ additional resource to meet the demands for home working and therefore are having to pass these costs over to our other clients. VPN setups are in addition to the services included within your contract but we usually manage to incorporate these but the extreme circumstances currently being experienced have meant that we cannot take on these requests without additional resource and cost. We are not at this time charging for service support of home systems.
360ict helps businesses make the best of their ICT to cope with adverse events and keep business working. Our experienced IT professionals can advise on improving remote worker capabilities, keeping critical systems working and on the best way to keep ICT equipment clean and hygienic.
Contact 360ict to find out more – call 0208 663 4000 or Contact Us
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