While the initial scramble to get employees set up for remote working home may seem a distant memory now, you should still consider whether your remote-working arrangements are the best they could be.
Many businesses will have allowed their employees to work from personal devices and while this path offers convenience it can also be a minefield in terms of data security. Similarly, in the hope of normality resuming, it’s likely many businesses left telephony out of their remote-working plans, resulting in no ability to transfer calls between employees and clunky, staccato communication experience for customers.
While we’ve seen a degree of normality returning to the world of work over the past month or so, working from home remains the government’s recommendation where it is feasible to do so. Implemented properly, remote working can have many benefits; productivity can improve, employees will enjoy a better work-life balance, lengthy commutes are eliminated, and it’s even been shown to improve employee retention and reduce absence rates.
‘Implemented properly’ is the key phrase here, as when too many compromises are made, working from home can also present challenges in terms of productivity, data security and operational performance. In terms of infrastructure, computers and telephony are your 2 main considerations. Let’s consider each of these in more detail.
If you’ve ever investigated issuing your staff with work devices to enable remote working you’ve likely encountered some of the acronyms above. But what do they mean?
For many small to medium-sized businesses a BYOD program is tempting as there are no hardware overheads to be borne by the company. However, allowing staff to use their own devices almost always means relinquishing control, as employees may be reluctant to agree to mobile device management (MAM) on their personal devices. Having a comprehensive BYOD policy is essential where personal devices are concerned, but again, limited control means this policy will largely rely on employees acting in good faith, which may not be a risk you’re willing to take where sensitive data is concerned.
CYOD, COPE and COBO programmes will give your IT team much greater control and oversight over all aspects of device management, security and access control.
Providing devices and protecting them with remote device management is the most effective way to ensure data security. Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Management and Security platform provides a comprehensive set of tools to ensure your remote workforce is operating securely. Incorporated within this platform is Microsoft Intune, an endpoint management platform that helps you secure data, manage access, configure security settings and much more.
“If only there were a way I could use my business’ phone system while working remotely.”
Fear not; hosted VoIP could be just what you’re looking for. If you use a traditional private branch exchange system in your office you may have thought that this was a technology you’d simply have to live without when working from home. Hosted VoIP (often known as a Hosted PBX) simply takes traditional telephony infrastructure and hosts it in the cloud. Users can then access the call interface through a portal or a dedicated VoIP handset and make calls from anywhere using a single phone number. It essential virtualises your office phone system.
There are a huge range of Hosted VoIP providers out there, each offering a unique range of features at varying price points. Remote access is an obvious benefit of VoIP telephony but it has many other advantages over traditional telephony:
Users of Microsoft 365 can incorporate a Hosted PBX phone system into Microsoft Teams by subscribing to Microsoft Business Voice. This enables users to bring business-grade telephony into the Teams interface, resulting in a sleek, all-in-one communications hub incorporating instant messaging, video conferencing and telephony in a single unified space.
Investing a little today in robust, remote-working solutions that will stand the test of time could pay dividends in the long run. Secure, managed and high-performance devices will help your staff stay productive while keeping your data secure. While a modest investment in Hosted VoIP could futureproof your business’ communications and give you the ability to work remotely without compromise.
As part of the government’s economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic, packages of grant funding are to be announced to help businesses make efficiency transitions. These grants of between £1000 and £5000 could help your business innovate and optimise its IT system, to drive efficiency and productivity gains using some of the ideas we’ve discussed above.
With 16 years’ experience and an impressive track record of providing a full suite of IT services to SMEs across the southeast, we take pride in providing outcome-focused, realistic and cost-effective solutions that address the individual operational challenges of the businesses we work with.
So why not turn this difficult time into a period of business transformation and reinvention?
Book a no-obligation discovery call with a member of our team today by calling 0207 993 9035 or firstname.lastname@example.org