Covid-19 and beyond: supporting the new digital workplace and remote workforce

08 June 2020, 02:13 BST
By Louisa Turley

As businesses across the UK cautiously start to allow the movement of employees back to office and workspaces, many maybe re-assessing whether employees need to gather in a single location to carry out tasks and whether business meeting need to be conducted face-to-face.

As expected, working from home measures were met with a variation of success, with some businesses experiencing ‘business as usual’, switching seamlessly to their new setup, whilst for others, the sudden and unexpected switch to remote working proved a struggle as they scrambled to address technology issues

Lady working from home in kitchen

In a bid to get businesses up and running as quickly as possible, many opted for temporary or emergency technology measures to get them through the initial lock down period. But as we start to see a shift in how and where employees carry out their tasks, and how we conduct internal and external meetings, having the right technology in place has never been more important. Let’s take a look at the areas that should be considered to support these long-term changes; 

Mobile Hardware Tools: 

Working from home isn’t simply equipping employees with basic laptops. Businesses should consider the hardware typically used and accessed in the office, and look to transfer this to a remote setting. This could be anything from headsets, speakers, webcams, desk phones, conference phones, and Microsoft Teams Rooms Systems, and should come with fast and reliable connections.

Print:

Additionally, businesses that deal heavily with printed documents can look to integrate cloud ready mobile printers that allow users to download, share, print, scan, distribute and even translate documents on the go from anywhere, via laptop, tablet or smart phone.  

Reducing touch points around shared areas is an important part of reducing the risk of COVID-19. Printers are a device that poses a risk because they are usually shared by multiple team members using them throughout the day. Two apps will help to significantly reduce the level of interaction between team members who still need to print.

No touch solution:

Using QR codes in conjunction with Canon’s free uniFLOW app will enable team members to authenticate with their standard pin code and select print jobs for release without making contact with the touch panel of the MFD. 

The MFD will show a QR Code on the log in screen, which then allows users to scan the QR code via the uniFLOW app,  

Talk to your printer :

An innovative solution that lets you talk to your Xerox multifunction printer is gabi™ and enables hands-free access to your multifunction printer features such as copy, scan, fax, and secure print with your voice. Watch the full video. 

Cloud:

With so many people working virtually during the coronavirus pandemic there has shift to cloud deployments has accelerated. Businesses are seeing cloud infrastructure as a more flexible, secure and cost-effective way to operate their business. It has enabled them to be more agile and adaptable with their workloads, processes and the support they can give to remote workforces.

  • Cost-effective: No need to spend money on equipment, infrastructure or maintenance and also relieves the burden on your IT team.
  • Flexible: Add or remove services as needed, enabling you to scale as required
  • Secure: The most secure way for workers to access data.

Collaboration and communication tools: 

When It comes to communication, employees demand more than just simple telephone handset. Thanks to Unified Communication capabilities, features such as email, text, voice, audio, video conferencing and web collaboration can all be accessed and integrated into one easy to use interface, and can all be reached by one single phone number. Collaborative platforms such as Microsoft Teams provide a platform where employees can chat, conference, file share and work simultaneously on documents from one location. Teams can also be utilised as for Live video conferencing events.  

To maximise value, companies can use Teams Direct Routing to make calls external to your business, which is a flexible, accessible and cost-effective alternative to standard Microsoft Calling. 

Read our full guide to Mircosoft Teams here 

Project and document management: 

Managing and co-ordinating projects remotely may seem like a headache, but with the right tools can be simple and occur entirely online. Information Management solutions, provide a secure cloud based environment where employees can store, manage, edit and share data across the business, and can be easily accessed at anytime, from any location. These solutions often integrate with existing applications, such as accounting or CRM systems to allow teams to seamlessly set tasks and goals, track their progress, check off completed work and hold each other accountable for missed deadlines.  

Take a look at Channels in action- Click Here 

Security: 

When it comes to remote working, security should not be a compromise. Ensuring employees have access to business infrastructure is essential, and should be met with the same level of security and control as they would see in the office. To overcome this businesses should look to implement a number of measures, including Multi-Factor (MFA), or Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) which requests usernames and passwords instead of immediately granting access. As well as security technology such as virtual private networks (VPN), network data backups and employee monitoring software.  

Explore teams collaboration with Office 365- Click Here 

IT Support and Management calls:

As with the office, remote employees may still be met with the same IT issues which are much harder for in-house IT teams to fix.  Remote monitoring and management solutions ensure any IT issues can fixed remotely, whilst providing complete visibility of all networked devices, often identifying and fixing issues before employees are even aware.  

EBC Group understand that businesses have a lot to think about when it comes to the digital workplace and their remote workforce, which is why their experienced team is on hand to offer helpful and friendly advise to aid your business through its transition. Their award winning services cover all of the key technology needed for home working, including cloud, communications, cyber security and IT support.  

For more information on EBC Group’s remote solutions, contact 0121 585 4400 or hello@ebcgroup.co.uk. 

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