Posted on 01 September 2020 in Help & advice
Helping you get back to business
Back in March when the UK locked down, businesses furloughed their staff, and discussions around returning to work seemed like distant considerations. Now six months after, as we approach the end of the furlough scheme on 31st October, we are finally ready to have those conversations (if we haven’t already).
In preparation, our partners Sharp conducted a customer survey in July which aimed to unearth how equipped and ready customers felt for the return, and indeed their concerns for the future. The findings highlighted Health & Safety, Communication & Collaboration, and Cyber Security as areas for consideration by all businesses:
Health & Safety
Unsurprisingly, Health & Safety is of utmost concern given the very real risk coronavirus will continue to pose. Businesses understand the risk - almost 80% of those asked said they will be providing Health & Safety advice, so a key thing to remember is that your guidance should be clear and understood – before everyone returns to work. What else should we be doing?
Phased / staggered return
Instead of rushing everyone back to the office, businesses could try to curb the virus by implementing a phased return to work policy. Firstly, you’ll need to audit your offices and check to see which rooms are suitable and determine how many people can work in each room at any given time.
The official guidance now recommends we remain at least one metre apart from others, so when we’re at the office, that means there should be at least one metre between your desk/work station and those of your colleagues. If you’re unable to facilitate this or rearrange furniture, then staggered start/finish times or a rota system may be more suitable.
Book a virtual session with your Newman Account Manager by emailing: Info@newmanbs.co.uk
Contact tracing is one of the main ways we can collectively curb the spread of COVID, so maintaining a record of who’s on-site at any given time is not only incredibly useful, but recommended by government. Sign-in systems provide an accurate list of personnel in real-time, letting you pinpoint where people are, and see who they’ve been in contact with should you need to know.
Did you know: Sharp’s Optimised Visitor Management system offers touchless sign-in with the pass of a fob, staff I.D badge, by scanning a QR code or via the mobile app.
Hand sanitising stations
With the average infected person contaminating 50% of workplace surfaces within just 4-hours of arrival, the importance of good hygiene cannot be stressed enough. Government guidelines state that hands should be washed regularly with soap or sanitiser, so dedicated stations around the office or at entrance areas would be prudent. It may also be a good idea to provide face masks for staff where necessary – in Sharp's survey, almost 70% of customers asked said they were providing staff with PPE.
Communication & Collaboration
The second area highlighted in our survey was around Communication & Collaboration. Almost 80% of those asked said their businesses were going to continue supporting staff to work from home. This shows that remote working will be around, at least for the foreseeable future – and with so many of us out of the office, we need to find more permanent ways to communicate and work together, apart.
Working from home policy
What the pandemic has shown us is that the workforce can and will work at home, so it’s no longer a necessity for everyone to travel into the office. In fact, 80% of those asked said that lockdown has made them want to spend less time travelling for work, particularly for meetings. So, businesses may find that a robust WFH policy could even help with staff retention. The only concern for businesses here is to make sure their staff are properly equipped to work from home.
The beauty of technology today is that we are fully capable of collaborating and working together, wherever we are. Video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams can be used with audio visual devices to keep colleagues connected and meetings productive.
Did you know: Sharp’s Windows collaboration display along with Microsoft Teams have been specifically designed for inter-office communication and teamwork?
The third poignant area of concern is around device security. The findings in our survey were surprising – over two-thirds of those asked said human error was the most concerning factor when it came to cyber security, but that one third hadn’t received any cybersecurity training at all. This shows a very real short falling – cyber-crime could derail a business desperately trying to stabilise through the pandemic. Some threats to watch and solutions to consider are below:
Phishing – the target receives a ‘harmless’ communication from a criminal disguised as a legitimate source, who seeks out bank details, passwords, or other personal information.
Ransomware – the purpose of ransomware is to infect and encrypt your devices, essentially locking them down until you pay a ransom
Man in the Middle Attack – hackers hide in plain sight with a device that imitates a genuine public Wi-Fi hotspot, once your devices connect, the hacker has access to your data.
Brute Force Attack – criminals will use an automated tool to run every possible configuration of your password, all they need to know is how many characters it has.
So, what can you do?
As always, a multi-layered approach is best when it comes to securing our businesses and devices.
Prevention with education – a first port of call for any business is education. Show your staff what a malicious email might look like, and what to do if they’re suspicious.
Password policy – implementing a policy that requires staff to set difficult to crack or frequently change passwords is wise, or add another layer to device security with two-factor authentication.
Printer/network security – we often forget that printers and photocopiers have a hard drive that stores an image of every document that passes through it, so make sure its wiped before it moves on. User authentication also helps protect data, or IP and MAC filtering helps protect networks.
Disaster Recovery plan – a DR plan helps with business continuity through trying times. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t implement a DR plan until it’s needed, but by then it’s too late – why not get ahead.
Backups & the Cloud – the final step in any cybersecurity plan, a three-pronged approach should be adopted: onsite, offsite, and cloud backups. Each works as a failsafe should one be compromised.
Your Newman Account Manager can help you audit and review your business in preparation for the return to work. Get in touch today! 01892 664155