August 14, 2020
So, we’re approaching the end of furlough as we have known it, schools will be going back soon, but where does that leave businesses and their employees? Lockdown is a new term for the working environment and there is news abound of major businesses recognising the power of remote working. In fact so much so, that several major corporations, including BP, have announced over the last few weeks that they are no longer going to have a ‘head office’ in its physical sense. Instead, they are shifting their teams to the virtual world…the working from home model…the cloud based system…the world of virtual meetings.
Why? Well let’s face it many now appreciate that working from home does not mean less productivity (in fact for many without the commuting time, productivity has increased). Medically it also means less opportunity for virus transmission, but ultimately from a business perspective the biggest advantage is that it reduces overhead costs (and who doesn’t want to reduce costs!). Granted not every business can take this option but for those that can, moving to a remote working model can create a multitude of opportunities. Bearing in mind what is happening at a multi-national business level, the ripple effect into small to medium businesses is likely to also be significant.
Where many SMEs previously encouraged the odd working from home day and supported their teams to achieve this, the rapid shift to all working remotely led to many businesses having to rapidly pivot their business operations and shift in an incredibly short timescale. With our customers this was successfully managed, with the odd tweaking to stabilise systems, improve server access and broadband width. We are proud that we have created and supported them in establishing resilient IT operations that will adapt should we be forced into a lockdown situation again.
However, we are also very aware that many others are considering their options and taking the lead from large corporations and opting to permanently close down their offices. So, where does that leave small businesses? Fortunately the nature of IT and IT support nowadays means employees can be pretty much anywhere (providing they have internet access of course!). In fact over the course of lockdown many small businesses discovered that once they had several, if not all of their employees working remotely that their internet connection into and out of the business was just not up to scratch. The good news is there are several ways of potentially addressing and improving this which you can find out more about in one of our blogs.
The nature of Cloud computing now means that there are a myriad of options whether that is public or private Cloud, Office 365, Google Apps or GSuite. If you are looking to move your business to operate remotely, there are several ways of tackling this which are explained in more detail here. The other dynamic to consider is that with the majority of us working remotely at the moment probably on company laptops and desktops, how do you make sure the machines are staying up to date? Updates are frequently distributed and while some provide enhancements, many include those all-important security fixes to patch up vulnerabilities. They are largely controlled by the provider and the network, so you may not always be forewarned about them. Plus, there is the peril of antivirus software being out-of-date – one thing you really can’t afford to be exposed on! But if it’s your company kit, then you need to know that these are being applied. That’s where the option for centrally managing workstations kicks in.
For other businesses having the entire team working remotely is not an option. However a combination of remote workers and essential office bound team members operating with social distancing in place is more appropriate. Whatever the mix, there is an incredible amount of IT Support that can be delivered and managed remotely regardless of where people are. Requests for onsite service is currently few and far between as most things can be actioned and reconfigured remotely.
So, if you’re thinking your IT operation needs to change and / or you need to reduce your costs, then you could be surprised by the savings that can be made by moving to remote working, cloud storage and remote IT support. Why not give us a call as we are always happy to talk through your options under absolutely no obligation (and we promise to talk plain English!)?