How to Help Your Staff to Work Flexibly in the Summer Without Impacting Performance

Created: Monday, August 5, 2019, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Gary Young, Equinox

Many of your staff will relish the opportunity to have more time to enjoy the summer.  With the possibility of working more flexibly from home, this is an option that business owners should consider.

What technology will you need to make this possible?

Home Office Work 1149087
Image: Pixabay

Remote Working: What Technology Is Needed?

To maintain, or even increase, productivity so staff can enjoy the summer, they need the right technology solutions. Your employees need to get into the network, send and receive emails and access the internet.

1. Network Access

Network access needs to be controlled to ensure your data is secure, but that doesn’t mean you cannot give remote access and remote working capability to your team.

If they are going to work remotely frequently, the simple choice is to give them a laptop instead of a desktop. Depending on your network setup, there are a number of tools you can use to connect your team to your network without compromising security:

  • Office365 means your data lives in the Cloud and can easily be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Generally, more suited to smaller businesses, but being adopted by more and more.
  • VPN technologies, often with two-factor authentication, are declining in popularity, but if you still have a local server infrastructure, this belt and braces approach may be the right one for you.

If they are working from home, they will use their home internet connection. Make sure they have unlimited data packages so they don’t incur any big bills whilst working.  If they are on the move, tethering to their phones and using the data packages is simple. 4G, and currently rolling out 5G, mean connection speeds are no longer an issue and dramatically increases the number of places they can work from. There is 4G coverage across 99% of the UK (some operators are stronger than others in some areas), so there are few excuses. Even if they just want an hour or two out of the office, they can tether from the local park or coffee shops. Local free WiFi provision, such as coffee shops and pubs, can provide that connectivity but may be a security risk, so are best avoided.

2. IT Security

Absolutely vital in today’s world. Skimping on your IT security is a very dangerous thing to do. The proliferation of ransomware and other nasties means you would simply be running a risk that doesn’t make sense.

Endpoint protection from companies such as Sophos and ESET ( make it easy to secure any device that is connecting to your network, whether that is laptops, mobiles or even an employee’s personal machine. Many will allow you to wipe data in the event of a potential security breach too.

3. Communications

If communication is simply between staff, mobiles will often be sufficient. If clients need to talk to remote workers, and they need to talk to clients, you may need something a little better.

Most VoIP telephone solutions have multiple ways to connect your clients and employees:

  • Mobile agents: an app on the mobile that converts the mobile to a desktop during the call, using the internet as the call carrier. This can sometimes work over the GSM network but will use the 4G when that employee is out and about.
  • Softphones: if your employee is simply sat in front of the laptop, whilst working from home, a softphone app may be better. The laptop becomes the phone and the employee uses a headset
  • Divert the calls: re-routing calls to and from mobiles can be done on most VoIP solutions. The number dialed by the client (and presented to them if the employee calls them) is the DDI or your company number rather than the mobile number.

4. Collaborative Tools

Project management and collaboration tools have been around for years now and continue to improve.  Products such as Slack or Trello are probably the most well-known, allowing your teams to share information, instant message and allocate tasks with ease. Microsoft is fairly late to the party, with Microsoft Teams, but is rapidly capturing market share, particularly amongst Microsoft fans.

Remote working without one of these tools is significantly more difficult.

5. Trusting Staff

There still, sometimes, exists a belief that employees have to be constantly watched. The statistics show that this simply isn’t the case, but if there is still a lingering doubt it’s going to lead to issues. If your employees don’t believe they are trusted to get on with things, they may well lose motivation and you may find out too late that they’ve been looking for other jobs.

6. Flexibility

Being able to enjoy the summer may mean that they aren’t working during parts of the day. A longer than usual walk with the dog in the morning or cycling with the kids later in the ay maybe their idea of enjoying the summer. If they know that this is perfectly fine, they will get their work done; just at a different point in the day.  They may get up early, or they may work into the evening. Unless they have a customer-facing role and have to be available during certain hours, it really doesn’t matter when the work gets done – does it?

Happy staff will deliver better results so why not take the opportunity of helping them to get the most from the summer?

Gary Young
Gary Young is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities, and other organizations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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