Prepare Your Business Now to Avoid Coronavirus Work Disruptions
Businesses around the world are trying to understand the types of disruptions that the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may have on them.
The uncertainty has caused the Bank of England to make an emergency rate cut from 0.75% to 0.25% to help mitigate the economic impacts. For businesses in the UK, as well as the rest of the world, they’re realising they need to be nimble and seek out the right technology solutions to keep them operating at full speed should their workforce need to work remotely.
Quarantines have already come into effect in certain parts of the world, including the entire country of Italy. So, what might this emerging global pandemic mean for your business?
There are three main types of business disruptions that can occur when people have to take measures to reduce social contact and potentially stay home altogether. These include:
- Employees not being able to work in the office
- More difficulty meeting with your customers
- Vendors being more difficult to coordinate with
Had this type of outbreak have happened at the end of the 20th century, businesses would’ve been far worse off. But in 2020, we now have multiple tools and the cloud infrastructure to support virtual business operations (aka: running your business remotely).
What Tools Should You Have in Place to Run Your Business Remotely?
There are several types of technologies at your disposal that can help you move operations from a single physical office to a virtual business that’s run from multiple locations.
The key to transitioning to the virtual world successfully is to have the right structure in place that supports your employees and enables fluid communications as well as good cybersecurity measures.
Here are some of the tools that can help you prepare, should the need arise to have your employees work remotely.
Cloud Business Apps & Storage
In order for your employees to have the ability to access their workload, you want to use cloud services that are not computer or location dependent. Platforms like Office 365 and Salesforce make it possible for your team to access all their work, files, and business tools from any device, no matter where they are.
Using cloud-based business applications and cloud file storage aren’t just a good idea to use for the express purpose of working remotely, they also ensure business continuity and enable better productivity overall.
In 2019, companies planned to spend 24% more on cloud solutions than they did the previous year.
One of the challenges when you don’t have people working at their office desk is how to answer your business phone lines. If you have a landline phone system, then your options are very limited, and it might not be possible to keep fluid communications with customers.
Using hosted telephony, or VoIP phones, you’re able to keep your same telephone number(s) and have your phone lines answered from any location. Employees can answer their line just as if they were at their desk, using a headset with their computer or their mobile device.
This means callers won’t even realise that your team is working remotely, they’ll get the same experience when they call you, regardless.
When you can’t walk over to the next desk or have an impromptu meeting in the conference room because your staff is working remotely, it’s vital that you use cloud tools that enable and even encourage communication.
Microsoft Teams is a team collaboration and messaging app that keeps your team connected, not only with each other, but with your customers and vendors as well.
You can use text-based chat channels, which include things like status (so if someone is taking lunch, they can put “at lunch” on their status), as well as voice and video chat. It’s designed to be a virtual central work hub where everyone can connect with their tasks and with each other.
Video Conferencing Tools
Video conferencing is a great way to meet “face-to-face” virtually when you can’t meet in person and still get that visual interaction that can’t be replicated by a voice call only.
You’ll want to make sure that your team has the proper video cams either embedded in their device or as add-on, as well as any needed headset equipment. There are several video conference software options, such as Skype for Business, Zoom, and GoToMeeting.
During a time when movement and social space is restricted, video conferencing can:
- Allow you to meet virtually with clients so business can go on
- Keep your employees connected and avoid them feeling isolated
- Help you better interface with your vendors
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
If your team is spread out and logging in to your business apps and data from multiple locations, you want to ensure that their connection is secure. Since you can’t control each and every Wi-Fi they may be connecting from, the next best thing is to use a business VPN.
VPNs create an encrypted layer between a device and the network that it’s using, which secures the data going back and forth, even if someone is on an unsecure public Wi-Fi.
Get Help Setting Your Business Up for Remote Operations
The future is unclear when it comes to the Coronavirus outbreak and the impact it will have on UK businesses. But one thing is known, is that it will have some type of impact. Enable Technology can help you prepare now, so you’ll be ready to go remote if needed.
Book a 15-minute technology preparedness call today!