The IFB News Pipe

Bridge over troubled waters

8 December 2015

The Forth Road Bridge closure has came a bit out of the blue and will affect around 70,000 vehicles every day, many of these people making their daily commute to work.  With the closure set to last into the New Year, commuters are being urged to stay at home if possible, avoid peak times and car share if possible.

forth road bridge traffic

As a business, how do you deal with this to ensure your productivity levels remain the same, whilst allowing employees flexibility in where they carry out their day job?

Can you allow employees to simply work from home until the Bridge reopens….if it reopens or is the best solution to allow them to battle through hours of traffic to get to work? Homeworking may not be practical for all industries, but for office workers, this is a solution that can be put into practice.  Perhaps not every day until the Bridge is reopened, but there are many ways you can give a bit of flexibility during the working day and working environment, enabling employees to work from home, as if they were in the office.

Accessing Data from the Cloud

Moving to the cloud can sometimes be seen as daunting, not for me or a major security risk.  However, by storing data in a secure cloud platform, employees can access data securely from wherever they need to be working from.  This enables employees to work from home and access, share, update and save documents as they would from the office. Data is simply accessed using an internet connection.

If your data is already virtualised, transferring data onto a cloud platform is a quick process.  Once deployed, cloud technology can enable people to work from wherever they happen to be, as long as they have a device to work with and an internet connection to access the data.

Cloud video

Using an Internet enabled telephone system

How can employees be contacted if they are not sitting at their desk? How will clients know to contact their mobile, if they even have one?

By using a hosted voice platform, calls can easily be diverted from a landline to a mobile, meaning employees can be reachable wherever they are.  Businesses can build in the right level of features to suit each employee including; call forwarding, conferencing calling, plus additional services such as instant messenger. With seamless integration, the same functionality at home or in the office.

Virtually attending meetings using technology

Skype allows people to video conference into a meeting from remote location, allowing them to see what is going on, be seen and heard and make comment when required….almost like they were really there!

Making use of tools such as WhatsApp, Skype or Microsoft Linc to stay in touch using instant messaging keeps remote workers in the loop when they need to be.

whatsapp

Ensure home workers have a good internet connection

Provide home-workers with a high spec broadband, one that will allow them to work without any interruption during the working day.  Even if an employee is working from home for a short period of time for a special set of circumstances, (like key road infrastructure being closed), it is worth investing in a broadband upgrade where required.

Also, ask your technical team to provide employees with tips to get the best performance from their broadband and their router.

This is a few steps to take to ensure your employees are kitted out to work from home.

At IFB, we see technology being an enabler.  A solution to unexpected problems that may come your way.  Technology can enable businesses, individuals and communities to do things, that otherwise could not be achieved.  And flexible working is one of these things!

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