Coronavirus is making the news all day, every day. It’s making for pretty worrying reading too but panic and fear makes great news. The headlines sell.
In the UK, it still feels a little bit of a distant problem. 15 confirmed cases to date does not feel like anything of concern, even if it’s now infected someone’s beloved Pomeranian.
Earlier this week the news from Italy where there have been 229 confirmed cases across 11 towns, there’s definitely reason to be thinking seriously about the effects on people in the UK.
Italy’s approach of isolating towns to contain the spread of the virus could have damaging impacts on businesses, with staff being unable to travel to work if they live outside of the affected areas or staff within those towns unable to leave.
Some businesses will be worse affected than others, of course, the nature of the business will determine how badly affected they might be. Factories will either need to keep staff coming in, but take appropriate measures to protect their workforce, or may have to shut down altogether, which could be catastrophic to the business. There’s also the knock-on impact to their customers.
Office based services businesses such as Solicitors, Accountants, HR, Marketing Agencies and IT Support companies might be better placed to deal with these kinds of threats.
If an epidemic / pandemic is not something that’s already been considered in your organisations business continuity plan, now may be the time to revise it!
Now could be the time that companies take a closer look at how they could support remote working. With cloud computing being relatively easy to get started with, it’s now possible to create entire office infrastructure in a virtual capacity on public cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud.
VPN’s make connecting from remote locations easier than ever before and pretty cost effective too. With so many homes in the UK now having Fibre Broadband available to them, connectivity is not the challenge. Having the right infrastructure and security in place to facilitate the connectivity is.
Trust is also an issue for many business owners. Can they really trust their workforce to put in the hours when working from home? The answer to this should be an overwhelming “yes” – countless studies show that overall, productivity rises when workers are home-based.
Whilst workers might take some time-out in the day to walk the dog or watch some TV, they are generally working longer hours or just work more efficiently with fewer distractions and the ability to work patterns that suit their lifestyles.
So, if you’ve not already got plans in place to support home working, perhaps take the time now to think about how you enable your team do this. If individuals need to self-isolate for up to 14 days, it would be better for business if they are at least able to remain productive during this time.
If you need help planning for remote working and would like to learn more about the available tools and methods to provide access in a safe and secure way, please get in touch to talk through some of the options available.