Work from anywhere

Technology started allowing us to work from anywhere remotely in the early 2000s. Laptops, VPN and increased Internet bandwidth set this trend in motion, allowing people to connect to corporate networks from home to access email, servers or other systems. Employees depended on this way of working to perform their daily duties.

What it didn’t address at the time was the human element. People’s desire to work on their own terms, anytime, anywhere and on any device. In the early 2000’s technology didn’t readily support this paradigm of “remote work”. Most workers didn’t even know what they were missing in terms of flexibility or convenience.

Work from anywhere, any device and any time

More and more large companies are realizing the benefits about working from home. Why stress your employees out with the expense and commute in to the office. Business Insider explores some of out largest companies working from home.

We’ve put together a brand new guide to show you the most important things to consider with a permanent flexible working arrangement for your people.

Work From Anywhere

The future is now… YOUR desktop, anytime, anywhere, any device! IT does not need to be complicated. Business owners need to concentrate on what they do best, running their business.

Top technical desires

Working 0nline or offline: Back in the late 90’s, for those old enough to remember, Lotus Notes pioneered this concept. Notes had the ability to replicate databases locally between servers and users’ local desktops. Today many technologies do this seamlessly to access emails, files or other corporate systems.

Instant gratification: Today users want access to information immediately and from any device. A mere 15 years ago expectations were very different. Employees had to be logged into a PC at the office to gain access to data. Expectations have taken a monumental shift thanks to new technology. Now smartphones, tablets, broadband, WiFi, and 4/5G all make information accessible at our fingertips.

Advanced communication: Recent advances in infrastructure and hardware have enabled new ways to communicate and collaborate. The use of these new platforms differs based on age, culture and social boundaries. There are so many choices available that employees can communicate via more channels than ever before. Document sharing, enterprise social media, gamification, instant messaging, phone, text, email, video, video or voice chat, screen sharing.

The new normal

Work anywhere you have an internet connection and often where you do not. There are many closed based back up solutions. We would recommend OneDrive.

With the ability to synchronise your OneDrive and your machine, you can now save your documents to a local folder. They will synchronise to the cloud in the background! Start a document at work and save it. The file will fly off gently to the cloud without human intervention. You can then pick up where you left off in a coffee shop or at home, working locally or in your browser. It does not matter which browser either, it works in Edge, IE11, Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

Work anytime

Well you can work anywhere, on any device so it follows that you can also work at any time. Now you may see this as a blessing or a curse. A blessing because you are not tied to your office and the opening times of the building. Which means you can get that report finished no matter where you are or what time it is. However, that is also a curse because you could work all night if you wanted to or even if you do not. Great for night owls!

As we adopt a more mobile workforce and many professions now run their business from a home, the office or even a coffee shop. We would recommend using Office 365 and take advantage of our Office 365 Security Package. It is easy to use and collaboration with clients and colleagues is now much easier.

Review your IT infrastructure. Enable your team to work from anywhere

Moving to Office 365 has huge benefits for productivity and collaboration. Because Office 365 has many security features built in it can be achieved safely. The extensive compliance manager gives controlled access to your data. You can remain in control and as an added benefit you quickly achieve full GDPR compliance. Have you moved to Office 365 yet and has it transformed your working life? Is your IT system set up and ready for your workforce to work from anywhere, any device and any time?

Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our experienced IT technicians. We carry out an IT audit to enable us to what recommend the best hardware and software solutions. Find out how we can make your workplace mor efficient and productive.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#FreeGuide #NewWorkingPatterns #PreparedForTheNewNormal

IT issues affect productivity

Companies are experiencing several challenges at the moment. IT issues affect productivity within the workplace. We are all working  in strange times. Prioritising productivity will help your business succeed during these challenging times.

You’ve spent a significant amount of money providing your employees with the latest and greatest that modern IT has to offer, yet your general productivity levels have stalled out. Obviously, this is a problem with the person using the tool as opposed to the tool itself, right?

So, to help you, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest IT issues that could be affecting the productivity of your business. As well as suggesting some tips on how to fix them.

IT issues affect productivity for remote workers

Computer Weekly wrote an article about how remote workers air long-term productivity concerns. More than a third of the UK’s remote workers claim their home setup needs to be urgently revamped. As they need to ensure they can remain productive throughout the duration of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. This pandemic has caused problems as IT issues effect productivity. Due to the amount of home workers not being able to access the same technology as in the office.

IT issues affect productivity

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make usually involves assuming that any tech-related issues are actually people-related issues.

Q: I’m struggling to communicate with my colleagues

A: With most people still working remotely, communication and collaboration need to be front of mind. You can no longer lean over to ask someone a question. Nor can you easily meet a colleague for a coffee or meeting. Instead, all communication relies on technology. If you don’t have the right tech in place to facilitate effective communication, your business will suffer. Group projects will take longer, errors will occur, training will become less effective and important tasks may get overlooked.

Invest in effective communication tools. Applications like Microsoft Teams allows colleagues to connect with each other (and external professionals) via chat, audio and video functions. Colleagues can also collaborate on group projects together and the platform will automatically link to Microsoft Outlook, meaning calendars can be synced.

Q: I keep experiencing the same IT issues and there’s no one there to help!

A: Reoccurring IT issues will stunt the productivity of your business. Moreover, if your IT support provider is unreliable and unresponsive, it will take unnecessary amounts of valuable time to solve these issues. IT downtime will cause frustration and prevent employees from completing important tasks, which, overall, will be a significant and unnecessary cost to your business. IT issues affect productivity not just for colleagues working from home but the whole team.

Partner with an IT support provider that you trust and don’t just settle for the cheapest option. In the tech industry, cheaper rarely means better. Technology underpins every aspect of your business, so you need to make sure that your IT support partner is delivering genuine value for money. We’d also recommend an IT support partner who can suggest and implement effective cyber security. This will make sure your business is safe and secure.

Q: I’m stressed at work! I have lots to get done and don’t have the right tools to do it

Employees aren’t satisfied with the systems, platforms and technologies that are in place to help them do their job. During such challenging times, you need to ensure that working life is as stress-free as possible for your employees. For optimum productivity, your staff need to be happy and satisfied with the tools available to them. The happier the employees, the better the customer experience. This ensures a more productive business with greater the profits.

A: Use employee feedback software to gain anonymous employee insights and identify issues within your business. Employee feedback software provides your employees with a platform to raise their concerns in confidence. As such, you can discover what is or isn’t working about the tools and systems that you have in place.

Q: I can’t access my work and now I have to start again!

If data is not backed up or stored effectively it can be extremely difficult to recover. Staff will be required to re-do tasks. Wasting valuable money, time and effort.

A: Cloud computing will transform the security and accessibility of your data. Storing data in the cloud allows you to access it from any device, at any time, provided you have a strong internet connection. With a cloud based system all your data will be back up securely. Employees can access their documents using a separate device and secure login. This is especially useful when working remotely.

Q: Our tools and technology aren’t suited to the needs of our business

Ask yourself, are the tools, technology, systems and applications in place really best suited to the needs of your business? Slow PCs, broken servers and reoccurring IT issues will inevitably lead to IT downtime and reduced productivity. Are you fully utilising your CRM systems? Or are there areas where they fail? Are your staff having to complete things manually, because technology is failing to do so? Could you automate a process?

A: Speak to your IT support partner, as you will undoubtedly benefit from professional technology consulting. Implementing the right technology and automating processes will improve the overall productivity, efficiency and success of your business.

Q: Our technology works for us now but won’t be able to cope in the future

Outdated technology can be a major IT issue. Relying on technology because it ‘does the job now’ and overlooking its weakness will stunt your business’ growth in the future. You need to align your IT strategy with your business goals, so that technology will facilitate success, not limit it. Whilst business growth may not be at the forefront of your mind during these challenging times, you still need to plan and prepare for success in the aftermath of the pandemic. Don’t let technology and an ineffective IT strategy be the thing that holds your business back and leads to productivity loss in the future.

A: If you’re unsure of whether your current IT strategy is limiting business growth, contact the LIS Help Desk. At LIS, we’re passionate about digitally transforming businesses, so that they can use technology to thrive. We can make sure your IT issues affect productivity are fixed as quickly as possible.

Our experienced team will regularly review your systems. Make sure your  security is up to date. As well as suggesting upgrades to your software and hardware. We look after your IT systems, making sure your team are more productive.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#ITSupport #Networking #Business #Telecomms

Microsoft Teams advice guide

Unless you have been living on another planet, you have noticed that things have been a little… strange, lately. Covid has changed the way we do pretty much everything. Our Microsoft Teams advice guide will improve how you work. It looks as though it will be some time before things go back to the way they were. If at all.

On the up side, you may have discovered that your business can be more flexible with the way your people work, than you’d imagined. With many people working from home to some extent, remote working has become a viable, permanent option for many organisations. If your people are getting on well with it, what’s not to like?

People can work in a way they’re comfortable with. You could make a big financial saving on office space and travel. As well as giving your people the gift of time, because they no longer have to commute. However, the important thing to always keep in mind is how you’re going to continue to collaborate as a team.

Improve how you work with our Microsoft Teams advice guide

We are going to look at it, step by step, click here to download our latest Microsoft Teams advice guide.

  • How will meetings look if remote working becomes a permanent fixture?
  • What is the best way to keep team motivated and morale up? If your once “all in one place” team don’t see each other from one week to the next?
  • How will documents be shared, added to and refined?

It’s likely that you’ve already looked at some of these potential issues during lockdown. Have you found the best solution for your people? If not, it’s time you looked really closely at Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams has it all when it comes to uniting your business and helping you to get the job done. Make use of our Microsoft Teams advice step by step PDF guide.

Microsoft Teams advice guide

Microsoft Teams, also referred to as simply Teams, is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Teams is Microsoft’s take on chat-based communication for business; Teams is also Microsoft’s answer to competing platforms such as Slack. Slack stock continues to lose value, despite a good revenue flow–analysts cite Microsoft Teams as part of that decrease. In July 2019, Microsoft Teams slid by Slack with 13 million daily users; as of April 2020, Microsoft Teams has 75 million daily active users.

Summary

  • What is Microsoft Teams? A chat and collaboration platform for Microsoft 365 customers designed to simplify group work.
  • How do I use Microsoft Teams? As well as the chat-based communications, Teams’ integration with other Microsoft services allows users access to shared files and calendars, collaborative editing, and easy switching between voice, video, and text chat.
  • Who does Microsoft Teams affect? The service is available to most subscribers to the cloud-based Microsoft 365 suite.
  • When and where is Microsoft Teams available? Microsoft Teams is available to Microsoft 365 customers and supports 93 languages and dialects.
  • How do I get Microsoft Teams? Microsoft Teams is enabled by default for most organizations using Microsoft 365.

Still need help?

There’s a massive help section if you’re ever unsure, and even a training tab full of how-to videos and guides to get you up to speed. Find it in the left corner of Teams.

Really, the new generation of working from home should be full of positives for your business. With the right tools, there should be little disruption to your business and projects. And communicating can become more precise and fruitful.

Give Teams a go and see how it could work for your business. As ever, we’re always on hand should you need any help. Just contact The LIS Help Desk for advice or guidance on this, or any other aspect of your business’s IT and data security.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team have a wealth of experience. Let us be part of your team! Don’t forget to download our FREE Microsoft Teams advice guide.

#MicrosoftTeams #FreeGuide #WorkBetterTogether

Robots that anticipate what you need

Think robots are a thing of the future? Think again. Ocado Technology has created robots that anticipate what you need. Thomas Roszak was working as a maintenance technician at Ocado. Based in their giant warehouse in Hatfield when he received a very unusual assignment.

His regular job involved repairing and maintaining the online supermarket’s automated sorting and packing system. The system puts together grocery orders from customers. It can be physically demanding work, manipulating heavy panels and working with other pieces of bulky machinery.

Research and Development

In a project designed to ease that burden, Ocado Technology, had been developing robots. They anticipate what you need. Can recognise when a technician might need help. As well as stepping in with either the right tool or help with lifting.

Mr Roszak was asked to help test the machine. He saw it for the first time and was taken back to his childhood. He said “I grew up on movies like The Terminator. So, when I saw that robot, I was actually impressed with what it looked like. You can actually imagine it looks like a man.”

For Mr Roszak, the robot’s strength was a real asset. One test job involved removing a heavy metal plate from above head height. A human would struggle to hold the plate for more than two or three minutes. However, the robot found it “easy” to hold the plate in place, while Mr Roszak undid the bolts.

Read the full article from the BBC news team at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52547331

Robots that anticipate what you need

Experimenting with robots for grocery picking and packing

Ocado Technology often hits the news under headlines of innovation in the field of AI and robotics. Over the past couple of years, we’ve announced our involvement in several high-profile research projects. Including the SoMa soft manipulation system and the SecondHands technician robot. This is because our robotics research team faces a remarkable challenge. To develop smart and generalised robotic solutions. Systems capable of picking the 50,000 different items available on Ocado.com safely and reliably.

While humans can quickly learn and develop all manner of strategies for grasping various items based on what they intend to do with them, robots need to be taught these strategies and that’s why AI plays such an important role too.

Since this ever-growing range of products has different form factors and physical properties, the SoMa and SecondHands projects will help us develop a new suite of robotic grippers and grasping strategies in partnership with Europe’s leading technical universities. While making significant progress on those projects, we are also developing more immediate in-house solutions using off the shelf components that can pick a significant proportion of our products.

Today we’d like to introduce one of these new and exciting breakthroughs in robotic picking developed by Ocado Technology. The system has been designed by our robotics research team. To pick a range of groceries from our highly automated warehouses called Customer Fulfilment Centres.

How can we help?

We can’t build robots that anticipate what you need. However, LIS can help your business. with your IT requirements. Do you have a new idea that is in the research and development stage? If so, this would be an ideal opportunity to contact the LIS Help Desk. The business world is changing, and we are all relying on the latest technology. Make sure you stay ahead of the competition. Our friendly an experienced team are more than happy to help.

#RobotColleague #ThisIsCool #ThinkingRobot

Staff prefer working from home

Do your staff prefer working from home? It seems that 9 out of 10 workers would like the option to work from home. Take a look at this article https://www.verdict.co.uk/working-from-home.

The spread of home working is opening up a new range of possibilities for the way businesses can work and structure themselves.

As well as opportunities and benefits, home working brings new responsibilities for the employer and employee. Employees with 26 weeks service have a statutory right to request flexible-working arrangements such as home working and you have to seriously consider such requests.

Staff prefer working from home

Your staff can be just as effective working from home. Make sure they have the correct set up, access to data and communications to contact clients and colleagues.

So, do your staff prefer working from home? We compare working from home to working in the office.

Advantages of employees working from home

With increasing numbers of employees working at home – or using home as a working base for at least part of the week – it’s clear there are a number of benefits for business, such as:

  • Improved employee retention – home working can help retain employees with an otherwise long daily commute.
  • Access to a wider pool of applicants – for example, such as those from more geographically remote areas, or people who may prefer to work from home.
  • Possible productivity gains – due to fewer interruptions, allowing more focused work.
  • Increased staff motivation – with staff having a better work/life balance.
  • Financial benefits – savings on office space and other facilities.
  • Convenience – ability to locate sales staff near clients rather than in your premises.
  • Better work/life balance – employees working from home can lead to improvements in health and well-being.

Advantages of employees working from the office

Though there are some benefits to employees working at the office:

  • Monitoring performance – it is easier to manage office workers and monitor their performance.
  • Cost of working from the office – costs will be lower for each employee to work at the office. No training and providing suitable equipment will be required. This includes adaptations to meet health and safety standards within the home office environment.
  • Staff development – easier to maintain staff development and upgrading skills.
  • Information security risk – less risk of data leakage.
  • Reduced isolation – home working can be lonely.
  • Increased staff morale – it is easier for a team to bond in the same location.
  • Some jobs can not be done at home.
  • Better work/life balance – employees working away from home can lead to improvements in health and well-being.

A shift towards home working doesn’t mean employees have to work only at home. Often splitting time between home and the workplace is the most productive solution and you may want the homeworker to attend meetings to keep them fully involved and informed.

LIS are here to assist you with the transition of home working. Our experienced IT professionals can advise on improving remote worker capabilities and keep critical systems working. We can also advise on the best way to keep ICT equipment clean and hygienic for hot desking and shared areas. Contact us for more information.

#WFH #WorkingFromHome #NewNormal