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7 Tips For Small Businesses To Maximise WFH Arrangements

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Motive IT has surveyed our clients, contacts and pooled our knowledge and come up with some tips to help your business maximise working-from-home arrangements over a three-month timeline.

  • Document your chain of command and key person risk
    What if the boss is impacted by COVID-19 or one of your key people, who is the 2IC (second in charge) who will then be delegated day-to-day business decisions? This should be applied down to three levels and ensure every team member is aware. A simple ‘Organisational Chart’ based on remote working can assist with planning workflow needs if availability changes. We just need to be prepared to reduce any further disruptions.
  • Understand your mission-critical functions and think through how you manage a human or internet malfunction for these activities
    What are the actions that absolutely must happen and what are your back-up measures? Is technology the answer or is it training, do you consider job sharing to halve the risk, or is automation the answer? Again, in these times, we cannot afford further disruptions and inefficiencies. Clients will consider other options if your performance/service diminishes.
  • Load testing: Don’t leave it until your system goes down to realise your weaknesses
    • Check home internet speed via www.speedtest.net minimum requirements are: PING ms < 25, Download Mbps >20, Upload Mbps >10 – if not, processing problems will arise.
    • Ensure your team watch out for home internet usage during a work period. Streaming services (Netflix, Disney, Stan, etc.) drain significant data and speed – which can impact video conferencing.
    • Have standard operating times and designated work areas for how the household will function to accommodate working from home.
  • Mobility and hardware. If you do not have already, and where financial capacity enables, provide:
    • Laptops to team members – Talk to Motive IT about leasing options to reduce upfront costs.
    • A headset for audio conferences, and optionally a web camera for video. One tip is that audio and video conferences tend to work better using a phone app than a computer that is not up to scratch.
    • Consider a cloud remote access platform, but make sure, if you opt for this, you’re using a fully paid and legal version.
  • Collaboration 
    • Digital daily stand-ups: consistent communication with all staff. Facilitate cross-functional collaboration to problem-solve rather than trying to come up with a solution in a silo.
    • Include a ‘fun’ option during your video conferencing – such as Friday afternoon drinks, trivia lunch, funny videos, etc… drives team bonding.
    • Collaboration through messaging technology and tools that will aid tracking team productivity including inbound calls, emails, critical requests and tasks within concurrent projects may also be crucial.
    • Specific productivity tools that can be deployed quickly and are intuitive interfaces to aid adoption for new users include Skype, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Miro, Hubspot, TimeDoctor, Click Up and Microsoft Teams.
    • If you are already using Office 365, then use Teams for instant messaging and video conferencing with your co-workers as well as ‘Shifts’ for time management.
  • Cyber security 
    • Company-owned devices are preferred as a home computer can often be the ‘Trojan Horse’ to your network.
    • Data on all devices should be encrypted.
    • Antivirus software is installed, up to date and monitored.
    • A compliant, supported and up-to-date operating system is installed.
    • The latest security updates are installed.
    • Monitoring equipment so the organisation can respond to identified threats.
    • Use two-factor authentication. Enable multifactor authenticator, 2 Factor Authentication for Real VNC or TeamViewer.
    • Ensure your team has a heightened vigilance for phishing emails and scams.
    • Avoid using public or open Wi-Fi.
    • Ensure that sta­ff connect to extranets via a VPN (a VPN can also simplify remote access).
    • Ensure your team have a working etiquette around password strength and rotation policies.
  • Back-up plans
    • Ensure any internal servers in your workplace have uninterruptable power supply (UPS) so systems stay operational in instances of power outages or other interruptions. Also ensure batteries are up-to-date.
    • Data loss prevention (DLP) should include having all files needed to stay productive in the cloud. For example, everyone with a Microsoft Account has OneDrive storage, every Gmail account has Google Drive, every Apple account has iCloud.
    • If you have on-premises server, where are you keeping your offsite backups? Is it time to use two offsite backups to maximise recovery should there be a site closure without notice?

Motive IT are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have with your, or your team’s home IT set up. No-one can afford to be offline in these times.

Regards,
Mike Andrew

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