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Are you planning for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in your business?

With cases of Coronavirus increasing by the day, this is the week to take action to review your business continuity plan and to test your organisation’s ability to work from home.

 

Your planning

Whilst the situation is very much subject to daily change at present, and whilst Covid-19 is not currently at Pandemic levels, we can learn from other pandemic outbreaks in recent years, and can sensibly predict that more remote working is likely to be needed over the coming weeks. We’ve already seen examples of schools and workplaces being closed for 14 days by Public Health England, and it’s likely that as the virus spreads, more people will be asked to self-isolate.

It is therefore essential that you consider your ability to send staff home to work. If your office is closed for 14 days, you don’t want to lose all productivity for that entire period. It is therefore essential that your remote working policy is fully tested as a matter of urgency. In the past, we have seen many organisations leave it until their office has been cut off (by snow for example) before they have issued instructions to normally office based colleagues, on how they can access systems remotely.

Whilst some clients are fully cloud based, others depend on VPN connections to work remotely. You need to consider whether you have enough licenses and bandwidth if suddenly, your entire team will be working from home, rather than perhaps a handful that do so routinely.

You also need to consider what services will work remotely, thinking about phone systems, email, access to files, CRM systems, finance systems etc. If any of your core platforms are not routinely worked on remotely, now is the time to test and plan.

 

Questions to ask of your organisation:

1) If you start to see unusually high absenteeism and several of the team are coughing and feeling unwell, what are the implications? Who can work remotely? Do you need to make further allowance for this?

2) What happens if a key supplier has to close? Or are there any members of your team that have unique skills or knowledge? What are the implications of this and how can you reduce the risk?

3) What would happen if the DoE decided to close schools due to staff shortages and to limit the spread of disease? If 50% of your staff who are carers called in to say that they must stay at home to look after their children or dependants, what issues does that raise?

4) How will you deal with staff who don’t attend work? What do your policies say? How will you deal with the workload? Think about how many people are needed to provide your service too, if your staff numbers were to drop to just 20% what does that mean to you?

5) Another gloomier consideration is what happens if a member of your team were to die? How do you communicate this? How do you support your team and their natural grief? What happens to that person’s desk or email auto-response? It seems callous to be thinking of this but unfortunately, we’ve witnessed this in other businesses (for other tragic reasons) and we’ve seen how hard it is to think about these things in the middle of the crisis.

6) Then there are press considerations, if news of your colleague’s infections is picked up on social media how do you deal with the inevitable interest from the media? Who deals with them?

7) You might also consider a scenario where you need to boost your numbers using temporary staff -what could they usefully and successfully do? Can you do anything now to help plan and prepare for that situation?

 

Our advice for this week is:

  • Thoroughly test your business continuity plan and think about all the questions raised in this blog
  • Test your remote working plans to ensure that they work as you expect them to. In particular, test remote access to applications used by staff that don’t typically work remotely, and test what happens if a larger group of employees than usual, need to work remotely
  • Communicate your plan for a full pandemic to your employees to reassure them there is a plan in place
  • If appropriate, communicate with customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders of the organisation to check their plans for a full Covid-19 outbreak
  • Encourage any unwell employees to stay home. You may need to adapt sick leave policies to support this
  • Identify your employees or departments with critical skills to ensure a backup plan is in place if any of these are affected
  • Cancel non-essential travel and all travel to the most affected areas
  • Provide tissues, alcohol-based hand sanitiser (antibacterial hand gels) and encourage good hand hygiene

 

ramsac’s planning

We appreciate that as your IT partner, ramsac probably forms a key part of your wider business continuity plan. To reassure you, we have a very well tested plan for ensuring our full team can work remotely. In the event of any advice to close our Godalming office, all of our staff will be able to work remotely, meaning that IT support and monitoring services will be unaffected by any closure.

At this stage, we are not planning any changes to our client site services, but we are watching the Department of Health advice daily and we will respond accordingly. Of course, if your own premises are subject to any Public Health or DofH guidelines, it’s incumbent on you to keep us informed so that we can keep our own team protected.

Esmat Faiz, Solicitor in the Employment Law Team at legal experts Barlow Robbins has provided advice on Coronavirus employment law issues in this blog.

As the adage says, if you fail to plan in business, then you plan to fail. The best time to consider disaster is when you’re not in the middle of one.

For help and advice on preparing your systems for additional remote working please get in touch by calling 01483 412040

Contact us for advice on preparing your organisation

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GBH Law
GBH Law
11:29 22 May 20
Changing IT support providers, like changing lawyers, is not a decision any business takes lightly or frequently. The decision is fraught with numerous questions such as whether the new team will understand my business needs, will it cause teething problems, and more importantly, will the reality match the sales pitch! We took that decision to move to Ramsac in January after ten years with another provider and we have not regretted that choice for a moment. Ramsac are simply great! From the get go we have been very well supported from the front line very helpful telephone support team right up to our relationship manager. We feel that the Ramsac team are very much an integral part of us . What however has driven us to write this review is the fabulous support we have received following a cyber attack this week. Something no business wants to happen but is increasingly a sad factor of modern cyber life. The Ramsac cyber support team were superb and really gave us first class support and guidance through what was frankly a horrible experience. Thank you Dan! Denise Herrington
The HR Services Partnership
The HR Services Partnership
17:59 16 Jan 20
We have worked with Ramsac since 2015. They offer a truly winning formula. We have been delighted by their support at all three levels: our network consultant (Colin) understands our set up and is great when we need to upgrade our infrastructure; we have ready access to our account manager who has been great with supporting our growth; and the helpdesk is always so patient for the day-to-day glitches. Very professional and supportive – thank you team ramsac!
Zoe Brooks
Zoe Brooks
13:02 16 Jan 20
Sam on the support desk is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Every time I have rung with an issue and she has helped the problem has always been rectified smoothly and quickly!
Sarah-Jane Calloway
Sarah-Jane Calloway
16:02 06 Jan 20
Ed spent two days with us following an office reshuffle. He worked to a very high standard and was very helpful, courteous and happy to sort out anything we asked of him!
Luke Hoey
Luke Hoey
14:20 07 Nov 19
Always very helpful and will work hard to resolve any issues you have.
Richard Renson
Richard Renson
16:54 10 Dec 18
Great, helpful IT Kings and Queens
Andrew Worth
Andrew Worth
12:37 30 Aug 18
fine bunch
Colin Warner
Colin Warner
08:46 06 Dec 17
Excellent managed service provider.
Selom B
Selom B
11:58 10 Dec 16
First Class!! Responsive, knowledgeable, professional and very easy to work with - Ramsac have been a fantastic strategic IT partner for the last few years and I'm sure will continue to be for many years going forward. I would highly recommend them!
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
08:53 04 Jul 16
Great IT business, with a powerful management team. Could not recommend them more highly.
Patrick O'Luanaigh
Patrick O'Luanaigh
10:55 01 Jul 16
A truly fantastic IT support company - I can't speak highly enough about them.
Sarah Whitemore
Sarah Whitemore
11:59 20 Jun 16
I have known Dan May and Ramsac for 5 or 6 years now. Dan is such a great guy and really helpful with strategic advice and input on all things IT. He's so approachable and doesn't baffle you with IT jargon. If you are looking to outsource your IT or you have a problem you need help with Dan is definitely the one to ask.
Jonathan Richards
Jonathan Richards
12:14 31 May 16
I've worked with Ramsac for many years and whole heartedly recommend their services. They are always professional, approachable and have the rare skill of making IT understandable. Their can do attitude leaves you feeling that you are in safe hands.
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