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Ensure productivity as furlough comes to an end

Before Furlough comes to an end Companies will need to be making final decisions about how they are going to move forward. This means planning now and not waiting for the cliff edge to arrive.

Will you have an office full of people, or will most of your staff remain working from home? Or will you proactively go for a mixed environment?

The latest government advice may help with these decisions.

Since April 21, the government has been allowing a return to the workplace.  However, where possible continuing to work from home is still encouraged. Now the advice is:

  • Office workers who can work effectively from home should continue to do so.
  • If employees can’t work from home, they can return to the office without the need to be classified as key workers.
  • Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.
  • Employees who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable category can go to work if it is Covid-secure but should carry on working from home wherever possible.

The overall message from this is that companies with teams are going to be impacted for weeks and months to come and will need to take measures to ensure productivity is not impacted in the rest of 2021.

Setting up a home office for the larger SME:

Employers need to ensure that team members working from home have the best equipment available to them.

It’s not good enough to expect those workers to use their own personal devices and expect them to be secure, safe and good enough to do the ‘job’. A responsible employer should respect the home environment of an employee and provide the technology needed to give staff confidence they can work from home.

These staff may have given over a bedroom to become their own office or be working from their living room or a corner of a conservatory – in a space never designed to carry out business tasks, let alone doing so in a secure manner. They have also accepted additional risk into their homes.

As some of your employees may have already worked from home and not yet returned to the office, now is a good time to re-check that all of their systems are working as well as they should and all the necessary protocols are in place to protect them and your data security.

If you and your team have ‘winged it’ so far because the company directors made the assumption that this would be a very temporary situation – now is the time to make a new plan. We now know that this could be an ongoing and fluctuating situation where our lawmakers will have to repeatedly consider the economy set against the public health risk.

A Home working policy should now be in place to address both practical, technical or legal matters. If this is something you need, do get in touch with us to discuss at info@sovisionit.com or call us on 0117 986 4026

12 tips to support employees working from home:

Things to think about when your team are split between the office and home:

Is the working space work-only designated, or is it an area used for many different activities in the home?

  1. Is their work area secure? Can others access data, even inadvertently?
  2. Is your hardware up to date?
  3. Are the latest versions of software available to employees?
  4. Supporting employees with VoIP connections – do they have reliable internet connections?
  5. Does your business have a VPN – should it?
  6. Are passwords secure and changed often to reflect any higher risks around working from home?
  7. Do your team know where to get IT support and advice quickly?
  8. Is there a web-based secure collaborative platform in use, for employees to work together, sharing documents, workspace, storage and presentation? Such as SharePoint, or Microsoft Teams, or do you have your own bespoke solution?
  9. Are team chats timetabled to keep everyone informed about projects etc.?
  10. Are there opportunities for more relaxed virtual chats to keep up workplace relationships?
  11. Are expectations set and is understanding and communication of these very clear?
  12. Do staff know they can come to you virtually if they are struggling with a work-from-home environment mentally?
  13. Do you have clearly defined protocols in place for maintaining the security of information and data privacy?
  14. Have you conducted workspace risk assessments?
  15. Have your staff received training in terms of maintaining the security of your data particularly if they are using private equipment?

soVision IT can support you to find the right hardware and software to ensure your employees are all working with the best, and most up to date technology to keep your business working seamlessly. We can also support you to support your team with their wellbeing and any Health & Safety needs during this continued time of uncertainty through our partner company Line Business Services Ltd see www.linebsl.com or call 0117 986 2194.

Working with soVision IT your team will know they can contact us easily and quickly to resolve issues and ask questions – even if they are not currently in the office. We can work with you to ensure that now and whenever needed, your team can work from home – or from an office – at a moment’s notice with no concerns when it comes to IT support.

Maximise productivity as furlough comes to an end with a proper use of your IT:  0117 986 4026 or email us at info@sovisionit.com.