Coronavirus is causing concern in the UK, with flight cancellations to many European locations and retailers selling out of household items. So what should small business owners do to keep things running smoothly?
Well, the first and obvious answer is, don’t panic. Over the last ten years a wide range of technologies have evolved to help small businesses benefit from more mobile staff and home working, exactly what’s needed in a time of potential crisis. Many small businesses may not realise that with monthly software licensing, such as with Microsoft Office 365*, you can have up to five devices installed with each software license.
This enables you to have software installed on non-movable office PCs, as well as most compatible laptops, tablets and mobiles too. So staff can have instant access to their email, contacts, calendars and Microsoft Office software, wherever they are.
Your small business survival kit:
- Current or new PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone
- Microsoft Office 365* for Business license (from £9.40 per user per month)
- Microsoft Teams for video meetings and remote collaboration between staff
- Divert of office phone calls to staff mobile numbers using the latest telephony
- Virtualisation – transfer critical business software in a server room on to a laptop
- IT security and support to ensure staff and data stay safe and free from IT viruses too
- Access to secure files via VPN on company owned laptops, tablets and mobile devices
The second action to take is an obvious one. Employers should be aware more of their staff may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other ill family members. This means introducing home working policies as an emergency measure, or reminding staff you have them if they are already in place. For example, In the UK much of the public sector has insisted on staff taking their laptops home with them at the end of each day, and Google has requested all of its 100,000 employees across 11 offices in the US and Canada to work from home.
The reality is that many employers should be able to maintain some level of flexible policies to permit their staff to stay home to care for a sick family member, and to enable critical elements of work from home.
Personnel policies – five top tips
- Employers should ensure current working or emergency plans are flexible and share this with staff
- Involve staff in developing and reviewing plans if the Coronavirus outbreak continues into summer
- Conduct a trial of using your plan, to find out whether it has gaps or issues that need to be resolved
- Explain new human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, pay and benefits to all staff
- Share business best practice with your supply chain and community to improve local response
LMS Group can help
Just give us a call on 0330 088 2565 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll assess what software licenses you already have, what you can reuse on other devices and what else you might be able to add, at low cost, to help your small business ride out the storm.
*Office 365 Business Premium
- One license covers Office apps on five mobile devices, five tablets, and five PCs or Macs per user
- Desktop and mobile versions of Office Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
- Individual email with a 50 GB mailbox and custom email domain.
- Create multiple hubs for teamwork with Microsoft Teams.
- Store and share files with 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
- Microsoft Access and Publisher software (for PC only)