There's quite a bit of remote working here at Sprechen. I work a lot from home around my 3 children (I'm typing this blog from my sofa while the youngest are sleeping) and Steve can quite often be found replying to emails from a coffee shop or overlooking the marina.
But not all business can run so effectively in this way, without a few things in place first.
Apart from the odd day where we've reached double figures, the last fortnight has seen a definite drop in temperature and even a creeping frost.
With the return of the winter coat, hat, and gloves comes the thought of Winter storms, snow and all the disruption that comes with them. Remember 2018's snow days? How did your business fare? Now's your chance to get ready for when the snow falls.
What plans do you have in place to keep your employees working and your business going if snow hits us again this Winter?
If you haven't got a plan then now is the time to sort it out - Here are some suggestions to keep your business running and your employees connected. The principle to this is flexibility!
#1 - Remote Working
Remote working doesn't have to be all the time - But it is very useful for bad weather situations.
Make sure your employees are aware that should they not be able to physically get into work due to snow, dangerous weather conditions or poor public transport, they will be allowed to work remotely from home or other appropriate location. (Obviously this is job dependent - If you're a coffee shop owner, you won't be expecting your barista's to be making endless cups of coffee at home!)
Of course, the odd snow day can be fun, but not at the expense of your business. Especially if a snow day turns into a week of employees being snowed in.
Thanks to the joys of Wi-Fi, smartphones and laptops, it's easier than ever to stay in touch with clients, colleagues and not miss an email; even when you're not physically sat at your desk. We are the BYOD generation!
So even if some of your employees are snowed in, or their train is cancelled, you can be confident that they will still be contactable and responding to emails and calls.
Do you have remote access to allow your business to carry on?
#2 Cloud Applications
Remote working isn't just about keeping up with emails and calls though. Are you utilising cloud tools?
Wi-Fi access does a lot to keep employees connected to the office whilst working from home but what about documents or folders that can only be accessed through an office based computer?
That's where cloud applications come in. Sure, you could hope that one dedicated employee donned their snow boots and trudged through the blizzards to get to the office, and then spent the rest of their day distributing files via email to their co-workers that are stranded at home.
But you could also introduce a cloud application so that all necessary files and documents are saved in one place, and accessible no matter where an employee is working from - Be that the office or from home.
This way, everyone has the most up to date information from shared files, and ensures that all of your employees have access to all the neccessary files and documents they need.
It doesn't have to be anything too technical - There are many useful, free remote working tools that businesses can use, but fail to use them for their every day processes.
Things like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive are brilliant for file sharing - But only useful in a snow emergency if people are using them BEFORE getting stranded at home. The time for introducing these work practices is now!
I'm afraid there is no excuse now in 2018 for ‘I have the document at work, you’ll have to wait till I’m back there’.
With the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), you might want to consider replacing your Excel and Access files/ databases with cloud built tools that you can access anywhere on any device.
Come rain or snow, your employees will be able to carry on working remotely with no issues.
#3 CRM Tools
Another handy-to-have application is an accessible Customer Relationship Management tool. Snow doesn't need to get in the way of your company's interaction with current and potential customers - People aren’t prepared to put up with waiting any more, and with today's technological advances, you really don't have an excuse to be like that.
Data, analysis and information from a customer or clients history with your company should all be readily available for an employee sat in the office as well as one stuck at home.
This means that a severe weather warning or week-long blizzard doesn't have to hamper business relationships, threaten customer retention or inhibit sales and growth.
By staying flexible with remote working, cloud based applications and CRM tools, you'll make sure that productivity is unaffected by bad weather. Giving employees the chance to work from the warmth of their own home on snowy days will ensure that you'll keep the productivity up as well as the morale of your staff!
Investing in establishing remote working practices will help your business to survive even the harshest Winter.
If you're interested in how Sprechen can help you get these plans in place, give us a call on 01962 670 190 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's get your business safe in the clouds before the snow starts to fall.