20 October 2020
As this blog goes to press, the situation with COVID-19 is worsening and tighter restrictions are returning to tackle the pandemic. So just as in March, the advice is to work from home if possible. But the upheaval of the past few months looks like it will radically affect the way many of us work, long after lockdown ends.
Many people now want to change their working habits for good. In one survey, four out of five workers in Ireland said they would like to work from home for at least two days per week, and one in 10 said they wanted to make this a full-time arrangement.
Lasting solutions for the new way of working.
A number of large technology companies with operations in Ireland have already said their staff can keep working from home permanently, even after the pandemic passes. And in the recent Budget, the Government said people working from home can claim broadband as a tax relief if their employer doesn’t cover the cost.
So now is the chance to bed down new working practices on a more sustained basis. Although many people are set up to work from home, they still find everyday challenges that they never would have encountered in the office. To be best prepared for whatever changes come next, our team has pulled together five steps to future-proof your business.
Step 1: Check your team.
Check in regularly with your employees to ensure they’re comfortable with their current remote working set up. Find out if there is anything they are struggling with.
Step 2: Check the tasks.
Ask your staff if they’re finding any tasks particularly difficult to do from home that they could do when they were in office.
Step 3: Check your tech.
Are the technologies you use in the business today fit for purpose when working from home on an extended basis? Run through the following checklist regularly to make sure you’ve covered all aspects of working from home:
- Are you able to manage business calls as easily from home as you did in the office, including making conference calls, re-routing calls to other numbers, or diverting calls to voicemail?
- Does your business rely on recording phone calls to stay in line with regulatory requirements?
- Do you have a way to communicate to customers or staff that isn’t email e.g. via SMS?
- There has been a significant rise in security threats like phishing on mobile devices, so do you have sufficient security solutions in place for you and your staff?
- Are you or your employees sharing your broadband connection with other home applications e.g. video streaming, gaming, etc?
Step 4: Know your options.
If you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions above, your business may benefit from extra support. Three offers many services and support which we detail briefly here.
Using a cloud-based telephony solution like 3Connect lets businesses forward calls directly to employees no matter where they are. It will even forward calls to someone’s mobile, so customers who call the office number can be connected to someone who can help them. Features like this ensure continuity of service even while your workforce is dispersed.
Changed working arrangements can have serious implications for certain regulated industries. For example, financial services companies must record all communications between the business and customers that could lead to a commercial transaction. Mobile Call Recording from Three securely captures communications on voice or text, to make sure that companies are complying with regulations. In other industries, mobile call recording can be useful for training support staff, allowing managers to listen back to calls and give feedback on a specific case.
Businesses also need multiple ways to contact their customers or their employees – especially if the message is urgent, like notifying customers of a delivery or a service interruption or telling staff about changes to work arrangements at short notice. Text messages have an extremely high open rate of 98% that no other communication can match. 3Communicate is a bulk messaging tool that automates message sending, so as an added bonus, it can save staff time of up to two hours a day having to re-key the same message into different systems.
Meanwhile, security remains as urgent a risk as it does in the office. 3Mobile Protect, powered by Corrata, ensures mobile devices stay safe from threats like phishing and malware. It also has a feature for filtering out non-work apps and content such as social media, gambling and inappropriate websites. If teams are using dedicated devices their job has given them, 3Mobile Protect has the ability to set usage caps. At a time when businesses are understandably watching their costs, this ensures they don’t incur extra mobile charges above their usual allowance.
Lastly, the essential building block for a home working setup is dedicated broadband. When people can’t be physically present in the office, email and conferencing apps are a critical lifeline for collaborating with colleagues and getting work done. So a reliable, high-speed broadband connection is essential – no matter where in the country someone happens to be.
A call on Teams or Zoom can need up to a 2Mbps connection, and capacity is vital if someone’s work involves needing to download or upload large files. Three has a range of business broadband plans to suit all requirements.
Step 5: Upgrade your technology toolset.
Our solutions will ensure your business can continue to run smoothly despite any changes in your working setup. Find out more about our options for remote working at https://www.three.ie/business/remote-working/. If you are interested in any of the supports listed in this blog, contact your account manager or get in touch with our team below to set up your future-proof plan.