This may not be the kind of virus we usually write about but Coronavirus is big news. At time of writing the UK remains in the ‘containment’ phase, the first part of the governments four-phase plan. Italy, the worst hit European country is in complete lockdown. And on Monday (10/03/2020), health officials said people who showed “even minor” signs of respiratory tract infections or a fever would soon be told to self-isolate for seven days in an effort to tackle the outbreak. The change in advice could happen within the next 10 to 14 days, the UK’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty said.
We’ve previously explained what business continuity means. Whilst we don’t normally consider the threat of infectious disease when talking about business continuity the issue of not needed the businesses normal physical location is the same as fire, flood or other natural disaster.
Business must be ready for the worst. Any businesses top priority must be protecting the health of employees. Preparing the way for remote working is one top recommendation.
News of the virus, which the WHO is now calling COVID-19, has prompted urgent interest in remote work. Business collaboration software, virtual desktops, and private networks can all help. This tech helps business continue as usual, even with quarantined employees.
Controlling the Spread
We’ve already seen big business take major measures to control the spread.
Nike temporarily closed its European headquarters when an employee was diagnosed with the virus. After the first death in Washington state in the U.S., the company also closed its world headquarters for a deep clean of its campus.
Twitter told its roughly 4,900 employees to stay home to work.
Other businesses are weighing up the options. Leave of absence? Changes to sick leave? Or encouraging work from home.
This final option appeals, but how do employees work remotely? How can they continue collaborating with people they usually sit next to, meet in the office, or travel to see? Technology can help.
The Right Technology for Remote Work
Remote workers require a centralised platform with a simply (yet secure) login process. Business collaboration software is a great enabler of mobile, flexible work. Replace in-person meetings with voice or video conferencing. Streamline chat, voice, and video in one software platform. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google’s G-suite, or Slack, allow business to create team channels.
Business collaboration tools also simplify access to email, calendars, documents, and file sharing. Employees can use a single sign-on to access business tools and data. This supports improved efficiency and increased transparency.
A virtual desktop can provide access to important business applications. Virtual desktops in the cloud allow users to work separately from their personal computers. The software virtualises 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 toolbars from anywhere, with a consistent, secure experience.
Using a cloud-based solution also provides peace of mind. While remote workers access the corporate network, the sensitive data isn’t stored locally. So, the business needn’t worry about the loss or theft of sensitive data. Plus, cloud-based virtual desktops are easy to rapidly install outside a quarantined area.
Worried about securing those remote connections? Another option is a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN connects computers, smartphones, or tablets to a shared or public network as if connecting to a private network. These encrypted connections to the internet secure data and protect employees’ mobile activities.
Mobile Work Helps Every Day
You can hope that your employees stay healthy and your business remains unaffected, but why take that risk? Empowering remote work benefits business, even without the threat of a fatal flu.
Remote teams enjoy greater work-life balance. Workers spend less time commuting and are more productive. Empowered, they also feel trusted and more engaged.
Meanwhile, business can save money on physical space and hardware investments. Additionally, the hiring pool of qualified personnel expands with remote work, and the business can offer its services more globally and flexibly. All that’s true whether the coronavirus becomes an issue for your business or not.
The Precautions We Are Taking To Protect Our Service
All of our Support Team are set up to work remotely. All of our vital tools and systems are cloud based. As part of our business continuity planning all staff have access to office phones via a mobile app. Indeed many of your recent calls to the office have been answered by workers in their own homes. You will not even have known the difference! In short, the impact on our help desk service has been limited as much as possible. If the UK moves into a lock down position there would be an effect on site visits etc. However it is very much business as usual at the moment.
How We Can Help You
Enabling a remote workforce takes technology. Need help installing and connecting your employees? We can help. Contact us today at 0115 8220200.