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Business - Self Isolation - Coronavirus

Schools, Businesses and families all over the world are bracing themselves for the possibility of what could approach a pandemic. The Coronavirus, though not with a high mortality rate, poses serious risks due to its apparent ease of transmission. From an outbreak in the Far East it has developed into a threat which has already led to the cancellation of major events worldwide.

The international symbol for business is two hands shaking - nowadays this concept has to be revised and many businesses are looking at options to create some level of isolation within their organisations.

Spending 15 minutes within 2m (6ft) of someone with the virus, or having face-to-face contact, is judged to be a significant risk.
source :BBC

What are people doing to protect themselves from the Coronavirus?

The main vector for the virus is airborne droplets or contact with infected surfaces. Hence anyone who has to spend time in public areas is advised to regularly disinfect their hands with a strong alcohol based hand sanitiser. This has been put forward as the best thing one can do by the WHO ( World Health Organisation ). Similarly many have adopted face masks when in crowds though the experts tell us that this is more likely to prevent the wearer from spreading their germs than offering protection from those of others. We are at the stage in the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) where containment is a primary consideration. Hence anyone who has been to an area of high contamination is advised to self isolate or seek medical isolation in the form of many specialised wards springing up worldwide.

Many firms are seeking to minimise the potential spread of the Coronavirus by suggesting that, where possible, employees are encouraged to work from home. Obviously there are factors that need to be taken into consideration to allow workers to maximise their efficiency whilst working from home in isolation from the perceived threat of the Coronavirus.

home office

We, being in the communications industry, have had quite a few enquiries on how to best equip staff in making the transition to home working. Naturally the increase in adoption of Unified Communications / Microsoft Teams has facilitated this step and here we look at a few ways in which technology can be adapted / used to best serve purpose.

Desktop Phones

A VoIP telephone has its number assigned by virtue of its internal MAC address ( media access control address )and hence can be taken almost anywhere and still function as part of the corporate network with the same number and the facility to make and receive calls as normal.
Many VoIP desktop phones use POE ( Power over Ethernet ) - deriving their power from the network cable which connects them to the VoIP system. A normal Router's Ethernet socket will not deliver sufficient power to supply the telephone. - so workers wishing to relocate to work from home should find a suitable PSU ( power supply for their phone ).

Computers

We have heard stories about staff being told to take their work laptops home with them as a matter of course every evening in case there is a report of a Coronavirus breakout in the area and home working is considered the best course of action. A computer can act as a hub for all collaboration and communications, connecting to USB headsets, Microsoft Teams, Skype etc.

Headsets

Just as a headset is a vital piece of equipment for the office - a worker who has elected to work from home will be more efficient with a suitable headset. It will be necessary to consider which sort of connectivity option is best suited to the new set up - be it USB ( softphone ) or connecting via lead or Bluetooth. There are many companies already provisioning their staff with suitable headsets to keep at home.

Portable Speakerphones / Video Streaming

Meetings are an essential part of business life and there are many portable products which are perfectly considered for this novel concept of sending staff home to escape a global pandemic. Small portable speakerphones used in conjunction with webcams can enable a worker to set up what is in essence a huddle room at home for remote meetings.

View some of our home worker solutions »

Summary

You really can take your office home with you if you consider all the factors necessary in terms of communications and security. A keen consideration always should be GDPR compliance as the dissemination of data outside the corporate network is a risk. It is yet to be seen what the real risk posed to us in the UK is of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) but it pays to be prepared and risk assessment is crucial at this stage of the affair.

If you would like bespoke advice on how you can move your staff to work from home then please do get in touch with us on 0844 824 6664 or use the form here