The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a harsh spotlight on the issues businesses face when trying to establish a secure supply chain.
However, in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic we now find ourselves in a situation where the need for social distancing has transformed the traditional office job overnight.
If your business wants to maximise your employee’s productivity (and protect their sanity) during this unusual period, here are some top tools and tips to aid working from home.
Keeping lines of communication openIn any job, maintaining good communication between colleagues is an essential part of the collaborative process and ensuring employees don’t feel isolated.
Fortunately, there are plenty of digital communication tools available to help your team maintain social connections and engage with each other while working remotely.
When it comes to engaging with others in real-time, Slack is the gold standard for workplace communication and collaboration.
Straddling the line between an email and instant messaging service, Slack allows you to invite your team to ‘workspaces’ from which they can freely message and share files with colleagues.
They can create ‘channels’ for direct communication with specific teams or for particular projects and they can use the system to make audio or video calls.
For video conferencing there are a host of professional tools, but during the coronavirus crisis Zoom has started to dominate the digital conference landscape.
While free for one-to-one calls or for group calls up to 40 minutes, the paid version of Zoom allows for unlimited chats with up to 100 participants and integration with salesforce.
Finally, for project and workflow management you might want to try Asana, which allows you to easily assign tasks to team members, log company activity and view project maps.
Time management and staying motivatedAs employees begin to navigate the transition to working from home, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that they stay motivated and that the line between work life and home life doesn’t become increasingly blurred.
Encourage your team to establish clear boundaries, including setting up a dedicated station for work. Working from the sofa in front of the TV might sound appealing but outside distractions significantly reduce focus. Not having a set place to work also makes it difficult to walk away at the end of the day and stick to normal working hours.
You may also want to encourage your team to maintain their traditional routines were possible, showering and getting dressed for a normal day of work can be a great way for them to get into the right headspace.
Businesses may also need to re-consider the rigid 9-5 framework which dictates traditional office work. Many employees will require greater flexibility with their hours during the coronavirus crisis as they juggle other commitments, like looking after their children.
Neil Perkin, founder of digital consultancy Only Dead Fish which specialises in organisational agility suggests:
‘The leadership attitude has to focus more on outputs, rather than presenteeism. I think over time this will naturally play out and we’ll see more flexibility.’
The current situation may leave some employees feeling anxious or trapped, so it’s also important to remind your team to step away from work and take breaks as required.
Ensuring your remote workplace remains secureWhen working in the office it’s easy to forget about how much work your IT team has put into securing your workplace network and all your digital communications from external threats.
When working from home protection from online threats will need to be adjusted, and businesses must consider how potential security risks can be mitigated while ensuring employees can still get access to the business-critical data and tools they need.
One of the best ways to help keep data secure between your internal system and employees working externally is to deploy a VPN (virtual private network). These provide an extra layer of security by hiding a user’s IP address, masking their location and encrypting data transfers.
While many larger organisations may already have a VPN in place, any that don’t will find a whole host of VPN service providers (such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN) offer services which are both easy to set up and relatively cheap to operate.
Other than deploying a VPN the best way to keep your business secure is to ensure employees are following similar security protocols at home to what they are used to following at work.
This includes making sure all software is updated, their WIFI network is encrypted and passwords are complex and not shared across multiple logins.
With the coronavirus crisis showing no signs of abating, working from home looks to be the new normal for many of us for the foreseeable future.
The culture shift is going to take some getting used to, but with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to ensure your employees remain productive, engaged and connected.
At Currencies Direct our global business continuity plan means we’re able to operate as normal – providing our customers with the same level of service and security they’re used to.
We’ve seen significant currency volatility in recent weeks, with major exchange rates experiencing significant swings, and this is likely to continue.
If your company would like to talk about its FX requirements please get in touch with our expert team [email protected] or call +44 (0) 20 7847 9400.
We wish you all well during this difficult period – stay safe, and remember that we’re here if you need us.
Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.