DMSL is pulling out the stops to help partners and their customers provide efficient, effective home working solutions during the coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus outbreak has caused unprecedented problems for businesses. For DMSL and its partners, the main challenge has been how to meet the needs of customers who have suddenly found themselves compelled to ask people to work from home, after the government advised that this should be done wherever possible.
As fast, affordable broadband is available everywhere now – indeed, most of us depend upon it for our voice, online and entertainment at home – this certainly ought to be possible. But it’s not always as simple as it might first seem.
In most businesses there will be a few members of staff who will work from home or occasionally, on the move. While they may be able to function perfectly well, picking up emails and joining the occasional conference call while they work remotely , it’s very unusual for everyone to be working at home at the same time, let alone for this to be happening over several weeks – and it seems at present like UK business might be working from home well into April.
There are four essentials businesses need to make home working efficient and effective:
- Good broadband connections
- Voice services
- Collaboration tools
The broadband is a pre-requisite for everything and while every home is likely to have an Internet connection, it won’t be used that much during the daytime, or during a situation where there everyone else in the locality is also online. Everyone else will be working at home too, so there will competition for available bandwidth.
While BT’s home broadband network is built to allow everyone to make use of video streaming, gaming downloads, and other data-intensive activities at the same time, this peak of activity usually takes place in the evening. Now, with schools closed as well, it’s likely to be happening throughout the daytime as well.
In theory, there should also be enough capacity to run business broadband services as well, but many home workers may find they don’t get the same kind of performance they get in the office. They may experience occasional delays and find their connection freezing-up from time to time.
Where this happens, ideally, the line should be upgraded to a faster service. BT has put extra capacity in place to help businesses cope with surge in home working, but you still need a fast enough connection. Upgrades can be done quite quickly, subject to the availability of engineers.
Where a customer does need to get a line upgraded as quickly as possible, we can help to oil the wheels. We know our way around BT’s operational systems very well – in fact, we probably know then better than BT’s own teams, so we can make sure the right buttons are pushed to ensure a swift update.
Voice remains essential for all businesses of all sizes – and in this time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to be able to stay in touch with customers and suppliers. A hosted VoIP service will enable any business to keep all its staff available on their usual numbers, wherever they are located, and to make as well as receive calls on those numbers. As far as customers and suppliers are concerned, there is no interruption to business.
If businesses are struggling with voice communications while staff work from home, we can provide a quick set-up of a hosted service, which users can access via their laptops or by using dedicated IP phones, which we can also provide.
Most businesses may already have access to tools such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Many of our partners have experience in this area and have a preferred solution they can recommend and deliver, but, if not, that’s easily fixed. We can help partners and customers to get set-up and running with good collaboration tools through our established industry partnerships.
It will be important to protect the traffic that moves between staff working from home and the company’s servers, so you may need to set up VPNs to provide secure point to point connections. They will also need to have anti-malware protection on their systems and customers may also want to consider whether they need additional protection for data, such as encryption. Once again, we can help you to provide all of these options through BT and other industry partners.
With all these resources in place, businesses should be able to function, stay in touch and be productive throughout the coronavirus crisis – and having good broadband connectivity, business VoIP services, collaboration tools, and solid security, is good business policy anyway. More people want to work from home now, and having these services in place will mean that they can do that very effectively. It will also mean that businesses are ready should anything like this every happen again. We all hope that it won’t, of course, but it’s best to be prepared.