The clocks have gone back, the leaves have turned and there’s a chill in the air. It’s that time of year again, when we start digging out winter coats, gloves and hats, ready for the cold weather to come.
But perhaps we should take some time before it gets too late to think about getting our workplace ready for Winter. This doesn’t mean checking the heating and working out where to switch the water off – rather we should be thinking about how to limit the effect of extreme weather on the productivity of our businesses.
Following the past few particularly harsh winters, there’s no reason to expect that this year will be much different. I’m sure we remember all too well the problems we’ve all encountered over the past few years due to the impact of offices and schools closing early, staff unable to get to work because of impassable roads and chaotic public transport. In fact, last year, around 0.5% of the 0.6% fall in UK GDP was attributed to the severe weather. So this is the time to start making plans to ensure that your business can continue to run as smoothly as possible, whatever the weather.
An easy first step might be to ensure that contact details are up to date for all of your employees in case they need to be notified of office closure. From there, it’s easy to begin a conversation with staff around making business continuity plans . Could they work from home? If so, would they be able to access to all the resources they require to perform their daily tasks to minimise loss of productivity?
This is the time to start making sure that these resources are in place. If you want your staff to be able to work remotely, you will need to give them easy and secure access to your servers. And even if you already have this set up, now is the time to ensure that your staff are aware of how to use it!
Collaboration is an essential part of business, so you will also have to consider how this can be provisioned. At Company Net, we’ve recently made the move to Microsoft’s cloud-based solution Office 365, which is an ideal tool to allow us to work remotely, while also changing the way we work together in the office for the better (of which, more another time!).
Office 365 works with software your employees already use (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), allowing anywhere access to email, documents, web conferencing and calendars. It offers business-class security and your employees can access their desktops as though they were in the office, collaborating with colleagues and clients in real time through online meetings and editing the same documents simultaneously. Office365 allows users access from almost any device, including PCs, Macs, notebooks and smartphones, making it easy to work from home or on the go, encouraging remote working and boosting productivity.
So taking the time to investigate Office 365 now could benefit your business all year round.