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Planning for the return to the workplace

office buildings

Covid-19 forced many companies to trial homeworking at very short notice with some realising they were ill-equipped for it. Businesses had to adapt to new technologies and get used to working through cloud platforms like Microsoft Teams. However, those already accustomed to home and flexible working found themselves at an advantage with staff already able to access essential applications easily and securely.

But what of the new normal? Businesses are thinking about a return to the office, all be it perhaps more flexibly. So now is the time to make sure that all your technology is safe and secure.

Here are some things you will want to consider:

Check personal devices

During lockdown, some of your team may have been working from home on their personal devices, using Zoom for business and the weekly pub quiz. Computers and laptops could be infected with malware or be connected to unsecure networks. So it might be a good idea to discourage the use of personal devices in the office during the ‘return to work’ transition, at least until they have been inspected by your IT team. Also make sure that any antivirus software is up to date as people may have been avoiding updating software while at home.

Re-adapting to office life

Employees coming back into the office probably have a host of new home working habits. This could be new apps or software to help with productivity but may be a nightmare for your IT staff who will have to extend data-loss prevention practices and security audits. Completing a technology audit and gap analysis before your teams move back into the office will ensure remote workers and those returning have what they need to perform well and work securely.

Remember this doesn’t mean you need to abandon all of your working from home practices as some tech could be integrated into the office environment and you might continue home and flexible working in the long term.

Cleaning equipment

Making sure your staff abide by the 1m social distancing rule is essential and you may have to rearrange work spaces to do so. Also encouraging good hygiene practices like wiping down machines before and after use will help reduce the spread of the virus.

As you’ve been used to at home, meeting rooms may move to cloud-enabled sharing platforms that allow participants to share content from their mobile devices, tablets and laptops without actually plugging anything in. Companies that used ‘hot-desking’ – where employees sit at any desk available – should probably stop this.

Remind employees to return office tech

As well as communicating return dates and safety protocols, remind employees before they come back to return borrowed technology. Protect your business and its data by ensuring any files, folders, contracts, and documents, etc. are transferred safely back over the office network. Data in the wrong hands could mean a catastrophic loss for your business.

Adopting new technologies

The technologies that could help us navigate the new normal might be different to the ones that have served us well in isolation. One thing we could expect to see in office buildings is sensors to count how many people enter a building or are gathered in one area of the workplace. If contact tracing apps (like Test & Trace) work as promised, our smartphones should be able to help limit the number of coronavirus outbreaks. Augmented reality apps might also be able to help us to judge when we’re getting too close to other people. This would be useful in an office environment.

Continuity planning

If you don’t already have a business continuity plan in place, you should about think it before you go back to the workplace. In the event of a second wave or unexpected crisis, businesses may have to close their doors or drastically change the way they work again. A reliable business continuity solution helps ensure you can keep your business functioning whatever happens. An integral part of Aura’s managed IT service is a disaster recovery and business continuity solution that will ensure your business is protected and your data secure.

Do you have the right IT resources to manage the return to work? Outsourcing your IT support may be the best option post lockdown. Get in touch with us for a chat about what we can do for you.