search
date/time
Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
frontpagebusinessartscarslifestylefamilytravelsportsscitechnaturewhatson
Jamie Durham
IT Correspondent
3:14 AM 31st March 2020

Remote Working - What To Expect And How To Prepare

Remote working will be a very new concept for many of us, but with the Coronavirus outbreak – and the many weeks set to be spent in lockdown – it will now become the only form of working for a lot of businesses.

While it’s a positive tool that can be utilised in our daily, busy schedules – even when we’re not working from home – for a lot of companies, they may never have encouraged staff to it use it before now.

So, what can you expect from remote working, how can you further prepare for the weeks ahead and what do you need to watch out for? Here are my top tips…

Training

Working from home can be daunting for employees who have never experienced it before, which in turn puts pressure on the IT department, as they are asked a myriad of questions – which can distract them from supporting you with other urgent enquiries. Therefore, if it hasn’t already been made clear by your employer, it’s important to ask them to provide demonstrations, so you’ll know how things will look and also understand what to expect.

If new software is being introduced to enable remote working, ensure you have read the guides to accompany this – and don’t be afraid to experiment with it, in order to get to grips with the functionality. In addition, it’s good to be aware of the procedure for contacting IT, HR or a mental health first aider – if your company has one.

Preparation

Encryption and mobile device management should become your new best friend, as your firm will look to build a larger picture of its assets – and their location – and further protect the data it has access to. Given that the chance of loss and theft is also likely to increase during this time, it’s paramount to be able to lock your devices down.

Comms

Communication between colleagues when remote working can be more difficult than when you’re able to physically see someone in an office environment. For example, those of you who are parents and working from home may also have to be more flexible with your hours due to home schooling, so devising a backup route for more urgent comms is really important.

Microsoft Teams, Slack and even WhatsApp groups will massively improve your ability to easily keep in touch. These services are also cybersafe, in that they are closed-loop systems – meaning they can’t be interfered with from anyone outside the chat – resulting in a more secure and GDPR-compliant environment.

Video chat also needs to be embraced – and you need to pick the correct tools to use internally with colleagues and externally with clients. Personally, I think Google Meet is perfect – no user account or software is required when accessing a video conference, you just need to be running a Chrome web browser.

Data Theft

Phishing attempts are already on the rise in the current global crisis – which you may have spotted in the news – and I believe it’s likely that staff will be far more vulnerable when working from home.

Training should have already been undertaken by all users on how to spot the tell-tale signs of a cyberattack, but when working in a new environment, it’s important to be more vigilant than ever. If you are ever unsure, pick up the phone and call the person who has sent you the email to double check it has come from a reliable source – if you believe something is out of the ordinary, it’s always worth clarifying, over risking a potential breach.