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'How to use Zoom?' Searches are soaring
While the UK battles with the health crisis, the shift to home-working has happened overnight for millions. Search engines have seen massive spikes as people look for how to work from home, cyber security, and telecommuting — as well as how to use Zoom (up 700% this month) and home-working tips (up 1150%).
It's a radical change for many. Last year, only 30% of UK employees had ever worked from home, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
So it's no wonder there are a few teething troubles. In one study, 8x8 found that 41% of companies lack any remote working policies. Worse still, 15% didn't allow staff to work from home at all, which presents serious risks of lost productivity and revenue.
In fact, telecommuting can have a big productivity payback.
Do we work better at home?
UK workers have been hunkering down for the long run. Online sales at Dixons Carphone have surged by more than 70% as we've rushed to buy more laptops, freezers and games consoles
But does the lure of home comforts distract us from our jobs? The opposite is true, apparently. One study claims that telecommuters work the equivalent of 1.4 days extra every month.
However, researchers also found it can be more stressful than working at the office, with 29% having had a hard time maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Business News Daily offers helpful tips such as taking breaks, following a schedule, managing a to-do list and removing distractions like social media.
What about work from home tech?
Silicon UK identifies that the work-from-home shift will present major challenges for CIOs. For instance, what about people using their own personal tech for work, choosing insecure collaborative tools and the risks to cyber security? Author Jean-Denis Garo notes that Gartner predicted that by 2020, one third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises would be on their shadow IT resources.
Meanwhile, companies like Microsoft have been quick to spot the challenges. It's launched a COVID-19 response page with tips on helping companies to work remotely, employees to collaborate more easily, and how to deliver online meetings and events.
For example, Microsoft Teams Meetings can be a great tool for 2-250 people. You can work from anywhere, share screens and collaborate on documents in real time. Also, listen out for new features, such as a hand-raising option as well as noise suppression —ideal when someone is wreaking havoc with Call of Duty in the next room.
Microsoft also draws back the curtain on how it's own staff are working from home — where having a large workforce can bring its own challenges. The right tech for user identity, multi-factor authentication, device management, productivity applications and virtual desktops is proving essential.
Will we ever go back to the office?
That's the next debate looming. "Many employees for companies who have sent all staff home are already starting to question why they had to go in to the office in the first place," reports Alex Hern, technology editor for The Guardian.
In fact, working from home could become the 'new normal' — at least for some of the week. Employees may love the new routine and companies may have already pushed through the pain barrier of sorting out desks, extra hardware and online services.
And if some businesses work more productively as a result, then why not keep it going?
Need emergency help for your business continuity?
While some companies are adept at home-working, others are struggling and putting themselves at risk. That's why Vohkus has put together a raft of services to help organisations to get the most out of working from home.
Take a look at our IT support emergency business continuity services. As your trusted technology partner, we can provide a rapid response to your home-working needs. This can include support with webinars, online training, remote procurement and much more.
You can also contact us with any questions.