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With the global impact COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is having on the economy, it's time to plan for the possibility of office and public transport closures. Staff sickness is inevitable, however, planning and preparation is key.
Ensuring your business continues to function, should the coronavirus turn to a pandemic, is similar to IT Disaster Recovery Planning. Each business should have a plan in place in order to resurrect their business in the event of a disaster. Preventative measures can be taken to minimise the risk to your business and your employees.
To minimise the possible spread of the virus within your business, regular cleaning measures can be introduced. This involves wiping down any, high use items with an alcohol based solution. Generally speaking, advise is to use a solution containing 60% alcohol. However, with that said, the remaining 40% would be water. Water and technology do not mix well so, we suggest using a soultion as close to 100% alcohol as possible.
The masks regularly used by the general public are surgical masks which in hospitals are being used for short periods by trained professionals, changed frequently and properly disposed of. They are loose fitting and do not offer great protection with extended use. Guidance from many countries, including the UK, is that they are unnecessary at this time and the public should rely on washing hands with soap and water and using hand sanitiser when a hand wash basin is not conveniently located nearby.
General Advice from ACAS:
by ACAS - https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
- Employers should make sure everyone's contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date.
- Make sure that managers know how to spot symptoms of the coronavirus and are clear on their processes relating to sick pay etc.
- Make sure that facilities are available to everyone to enable frequent hand washing.
- Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff.
- Consider if any planned travel to affected areas is essential.
- Employers must not single anyone out.
It may be appropriate to allow employees to work from home. Most businesses have IT infrastructure that facilitates remote working. Such methods include;
SysFix IT Support LTD are well prepared to handle requests for remote access or home-working. We have a range of services and solutions we can put in place at short notice.
If you're already on a support agreement with us or another IT Support Company, you probably already have the facility for staff to be able to work from home. By default, no employee is given VPN access when new user accounts are created. Managers should if required, log a ticket to request VPN access for a list of employees. If you have a company server, this will allow staff to be able to access company files remotely. We suggest allowing access on company owned devices only.
Laptops taken outside of the office environment should always be encrypted if they hold any customer identifiable information.
If employees do not work from laptops, you have the option of allowing them to take their desktop machine home. Remote access can be set up allowing access to company data. However, as most desktop computers are not equiped with Wi-Fi, an add on acrd or USB Wi-Fi device will be required. You can purchase these though us.
If you're a customer without a company server, access to your most important files can be synced to a cloud service such as Microsoft Sharepoint. If you have an Office 365 Subscription, we can assist in collating your data and making this available to your staff outside of the office.
Should the Coronavirus turn into a pandemic, you'll need to consider how your business will function. You need to ask yourself the following questions;
If you need assistance planning for extended office closures, staff sickness and remote working, please contact SysFix for assistance.
4.45 Action that would be considered could include population distancing strategies (such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large scale gatherings) to slow the spread of the disease throughout the population, whilst ensuring the country's ability to continue to run as normally as possible. The UK governments' education departments' planning assumptions include the possibility of having to close educational settings in order to reduce the spread of infection.by HM Government 3rd March 2020
4.48 for businesses facing short term cash flow issues (for example, as the result of subdued demand), an effective mitigation already exists in HMRC's Time To Pay system. This is offered on a case by case basis if a firm or individual contacts HMRC about falling behind on their taxby HM Government 3rd March 2020
4.55 The UK Government is advising businesses to build their own resilience by reviewing their business continuity plans and following the advice for employers available on GOV.UK - www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-toemployers-and-businesses-about-covid-19by HM Government 3rd March 2020
4.56 Businesses should also ensure that they keep up to date with the situation as it changes, at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.by by HM Government 3rd March 2020