Homeworking – the challenges for charities over the long term
Short-term homeworking solutions could be costing charities more. Jonathan Levy, Managing Director of Class Networks, explains why it’s time to set up longer term solutions and business continuity plans.
In recent years the term ‘business continuity’ has become synonymous with back-up and disaster recovery strategies, to cope with disruptive or unexpected events that may affect your organisation. At most, it was planning for things like a key staff member not being able to travel to the office due to adverse weather conditions or train strikes.
However, in the circumstances we find ourselves in now, disruption has become the everyday normality and charities are having to adapt once again and look at changing the way they operate on a longer-term basis. The temporary and quick-fix homeworking solutions that were implemented some two months ago at the start of the COVID-19 crisis may no longer be sustainable or cost-effective over longer periods of use.
Homeworking quick fixes are perfect for the short-term!
I’m sure like Class Networks, the main initial priority for IT and Telecoms companies was to ensure that their customers remained operational, to provide critical help and support services to vulnerable people, as well as those at the high-risk end of the current pandemic. Our focus was to ensure our charities could work from home in a matter of hours!
However, since the lockdown was extended and charities now need to plan for a future with COVID-19, we have been providing advice and guidance for longer-term solutions.
Short-term homeworking challenges
Now is a good time to reassess your current homeworking set-up. It could end up costing you more, especially if it’s designed as an interim solution for short periods of outage. This could result in higher monthly bills eg line rental, phone system maintenance and call forwarding costs if used for longer than planned.
Some homeworking options can also affect customer service and fundraising operations where it becomes difficult to manage phone diverts efficiently over a prolonged period of time.
We’ve heard a number of issues that our charity customers are encountering:
- All calls going to one person and creating alternative plans if they become unavailable
- Unable to answer or transfer all incoming calls
- Voicemails going straight to the 07 mobile voicemail and other staff members unable to access
- Time and resource spent listening to voicemails and forwarding messages
Business continuity advice & longer-term homeworking
To minimise disruption charities need to plan and review their longer-term homeworking solutions and business continuity plans. But where to start?
Effective continuity planning has an influence over a wide range of business processes and technologies; including connectivity, communications, data security, mobility and accessibility.
Now is the time to plan and review a more permanent solution and to start thinking about:
- Replacing old or on-premise telephone systems
- Look at moving to a cloud-based system
- Upgrade connectivity at the office
Also be aware of some of the major changes coming in the next few years with the announcement that Microsoft will not be supporting Skype after 2021 and the planned BT switch-off of the UK’s traditional ISDN telephone network services in 2025.
What are your options?
Depending on your current set up and objectives these are some of the some of the solutions we’ve been supporting charities with:
- Microsoft 365 – Access Microsoft applications from any location, at any time, on any device
- Microsoft Teams and Voice Calls – Collaborate with colleagues irrespective of geographical location with video meetings, chat and voice calls
- Hosted Voice – Cloud based telephony enables calls to be made and received from any location on multiple devices including mobile apps, softphone
- BYOD – A cloud-based IT environment enables users to bring their own device (BYOD), enabling users to work remotely without having to provide them with hardware
- Mobile working / mobility – Flexible mobile packages and mobile device management to facilitate mobile working and deliver value
Free online business continuity workshops to support charities for the future
As part of our commitment to charities we are offering free online workshops. If you know you need to update your business continuity solutions and plan longer-term by moving to the cloud or you just need help to fix your IT, then you will find the workshop invaluable. We can give you straightforward and honest advice on how to bring together your IT and comms technology.
We will work with you to understand your current IT and homeworking environment, frustrations and challenges in a non-technical workshop. We will kick start your plan with a two hour workshop with key stakeholders to understand the current situation, future plans and a review of your existing IT infrastructure and operational processes. Don’t worry about the technology simply tell us what’s NOT working and we can help.
- Can’t access emails when out of the office
- Unreliable connectivity and slow internet connection
- Lack of control over sharing sensitive data
- Security and back-up worries
- Homeworkers and remote workers can’t access documents
- Unable to share calendars and files
- Old on-premise servers
- IT could be better at supporting the organisation
Following your workshop, we will summarise the findings and help you to build a business case for continuity planning and present this as part of step by step improvement plan. You can either take away the recommendations or choose to let us help you to implement it; no obligation.
However, it’s not just about the technology or an IT change, it requires a change in culture. We will help you to rethink how you use technology, people and processes to change the way you operate.
The roadmap will present:-
- Improvements to current working practices and user experience
- Deliver robust, future proof and secure underlying technology
- Simplify the supply chain and remove the blame culture
- Provide an affordable and demonstratable return on investment
Register today at:-
Free question and answer session with one of our charity specialists
If you are confused about your set up or what other options are available this is a great way to get some free advice and guidance on what to do next. Simply email or call us and we will be happy to help.
Telephone: 0333 800 8822