Microsoft and Chevron are among 13 of the largest global companies who have asked their employees not to come into the offices and to work remotely, as a precaution against the Coronavirus or COVID-19 to use its scientific name.
This coupled with the inclement weather and unprecedented flooding makes Business Continuity planning and the capability for workers to be able to work remotely a ‘must have’ alternative for any business.
As the COVID-19 virus spreads across other parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, major companies like Microsoft, Hitachi and Chevron are asking their workers to work remotely as a measure against the rapidly spreading disease.
What is more we are starting to see school closures, meaning parents will have to stay at home, which in many cases will mean ‘work from home’.
We now see reports on BBC news that schools, colleges and universities could be closed for up to 2 months should “the UK be hit by a global pandemic of Coronavirus”.
If the number of UK cases increase and further precautions are required, such as homeworking and mass self isolation, can your business support this?
The key to effectively preparing for any business continuity scenario is to consider the needs of your workforce and what you will need to do to enable them to carry on working without compromising corporate standards, security protocol and customer experience. A significant part of this planning should focus on your telephony and IT environments as they provide the solutions which enable seamless flexible working. Today, existing technologies offer us increasing possibilities.
Many people think that by reverting to mobiles and logging onto the corporate network via broadband/wi-fi at home will solve the challenge but let’s think about how that could potentially compromise your business.
- Mobile telephones – some businesses issue business mobiles to workers and some don’t. For a business mobile phone, if workers need to make outbound calls, they will be displaying their mobile number, not business number. Calls will also not be recorded if this is a usual or mandated requirement for your industry. If workers only have a personal phone, they might not want to use this and again, they will be displaying their personal mobile number to any customers. It will also potentially make it complex for workers to be compensated for call costs as well as the overall impact to customer experience and brand quality.
- Telephony – If an office worker relies on a telephone on their desk or on their PC to make/receive calls, how will business quality voice calls be delivered to the worker if they need to work from home?
- Home Broadband – whilst effective use of security within your IT network (Session Border Controllers/Firewall rules) can create secure VPN less connectivity into your corporate network. How many of your workers have sufficient broadband at home and has access been tested remotely to ensure there are no SIP ALG or router settings that might prevent access? This can be a common problem and one that can be time consuming and cause unnecessary delay should a homeworking or business continuity situation be unexpectedly declared.
- IT Equipment – If office workers normally use a PC within the office with access to various corporate systems/CRM. Can the same secure access be replicated if working on a business or personal laptop? What would the impact be to your business if workers cannot access the systems they need to remotely?
Checklist – what do you need to do to prepare for the worst case scenario?
Use Case 1 – A standard office worker that usually works in the office 100% of the time.
- Can they take their laptop/headset home?
- Do they have sufficient broadband at home and has remote access been tested?
- How will they make/receive telephone calls?
- Do their telephone calls need to be recorded?
- Do they have a suitable space to work?
- What do they need in addition to be able to do their job?
Use Case 2 – An agent/call centre worker that usually works in the office 100% of the time.
- As per use case one with additional considerations….
- Can all systems and verifications be accessed from home and are there any gaps?
- How will log in/log out/breaks/busy periods be monitored and reported on remotely? Do you have the systems and software to do this?
- How will the agent ask for help if they need it?
Use Case 3 – A worker that is based partly in the office or home and partly on the road.
- How do they currently communicate with colleagues and the corporate office/s?
- How will their job/customer relationships be affected if they can’t visit customers for any length of time?
- Do they have the ability to provide virtual meetings/quality remote support/video calls with their customers using their mobile device or laptop?
- Can you record any virtual/remote meetings to share with a wider audience or ensure any confusion is eliminated further down the line?
- Can customers see the presence of your remote based workers and contact them via their method of choice?
Please contact Evoke Telecom Services Ltd for free impartial advice about any of the above topics or areas. Evoke have been working with businesses throughout the UK for the last 6 years to provide simple and effective Business Continuity planning support as well as world class telephony solutions that enable flexible and effective working, no matter what your job role or where you are working from. Our Evoke Business Continuity solutions are compatible with any existing telephony system or contact centre.
For Education customers, we have a separate suite of award winning ‘safe school’ solutions to address Business Continuity and Lockdown scenarios. Please do contact us for more information on 01509 278278 or [email protected]