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There's more to working from home than just email and mobile phone access

31st March 2020
Martin Lyons, Zenith Networks

Offices in 2020 are a world away from what they would have been 10 or 15 years ago. The advances in technology and computing have transformed how we work, reducing paper usage, cutting times in how information is shared and connecting colleagues right across the globe.
 
For many that has already allowed a shift in the ‘where’ as well as the ‘how’ of the daily work day. Remote working, either from a different site than usual, or from the home, is an option that has been gradually increasing for many in recent years. ‘Working from home’ has by now become an accepted part of the business lexicon. And it means a lot more than simply having access to your email and a mobile phone.
 
File sharing now means that huge volumes of data can be accessible from anywhere, and conference calling technology means that meeting for decision makers and office teams can be conducted without anyone missing out, and usually at no or low cost.
 
To date this technology has been utilised as a means of dealing with sometimes expensive or congested office space, as part of the search for better work life balance or as a means of allowing carers to work at a time that suits their schedule.
The current Covid-19 crisis means the introduction of such flexibilities into the workplace has become a necessity. This pandemic is huge challenge for us all, not least the health service and the frontline staff. For local businesses it is a challenge too, and their role will be to try to continue to function for their clients, to keep the economy running - but they must do so safely, adhering to the advice from the Public Health Agency to keep their customers, staff and their families safe. The requirement for social distancing has led to new thinking.
In the last week we have seen many local firms taking the responsible decision for their staff and their customers, to change their work practices to allow large scale remote working. Bustling offices that had more than 100 staff in them last week, now operate with a skeleton on-site staff, with the majority of the team working remotely from home.
 
That brings a challenge for IT providers like Zenith Networks. Suddenly, from providing support for one client on a single main site, we are effectively managing much more sites across NI, so that each member of staff can continue to have IT access to continue working. For many firms, the information they share across their team has to be more than just accessible, they need to know that it is safe and secure. They also need to know that their wide customer base is able to contact them, across a range of mediums.
 
That’s what is keeping us busy at Zenith Networks. Clients now have several options available to them, and of course the technology available now is faster and more secure than at any previous time. Our job is to match the needs of our client with the solution that fits their business today. It’s a sudden and huge shift in working practices, and at a time of great uncertainty for everyone, we are making sure that business for our clients continues as smoothly as possible.
Today, many staff are working from home. Logging on and getting on with their jobs in a different setting.
The only thing we can’t control is how to distract the children as you join your team video conference call!
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