If you normally work in an office but either decide to or are asked to stay away and work from home during the current Covid-19 outbreak, how do you do that?

If your company already has remote workers, then it should be relatively simple to be added to them and given remote access to shared resources. Since a lot of businesses use cloud services these days, there is probably nothing you need to do except log into those resources from home.

The best way to do that is to use a company laptop in your home otherwise you may run into issues with GDPR if you are using your own computer. Your company should have a compliance officer who will know whether the sort of data you will be working with falls within the scope of GDPR.

What if you work in a smaller business which does not have the infrastructure already in place for remote working?

It might be a good time to think about how the company shares data between employees and look at whether cloud services would be a good fit going forward anyway. Just because you all work in the one place doesn’t mean that cloud services wouldn’t make sense and the added advantage would be that should remote access be required, you don’t have to worry about configuring VPN’s and firewalls.

One of the most popular cloud services for business is Microsoft Office 365 for business. This is not to be confused with Office 365 Home, it’s an entirely different beast. Even the cheapest version comes as standard with a number of remote collaboration tools such as Teams, which is an upgraded replacement for Skype for Business.

If you’re not a huge Microsoft fan or don’t want to get tied into a rolling contract, then something like Zoom would be a suitable option. If you only want a telephone conference rather than a full-blown video conference then WhyPay might fit the bill.

With remote project planning like Asana, remote file sharing with Dropbox, as long as you don’t have an in-office email server, there are few limitations to remote collaboration. Businesses tend to suffer somewhat from inertia when it comes to making significant changes to working practices and systems. Maybe you can use the current coronavirus situation to kick-start thinking about a different way to work.

Yes, there will be challenges and you will certainly need to review your companies GDPR privacy statement, but it’s worth considering remote working now rather than when your business is faced with being required to do it.

I cover Lymington, Brockenhurst, Sway, New Milton, Milford on Sea, Barton on Sea and the general New Forest area normally, but if you are outside of those areas, it doesn’t mean I can’t help. So if you have any questions about remote working, get in touch.