Not all employees can, or want, to work from home for extended periods. Learn why it is important for your business continuity plan (BCP) to reflect flexibility.
May 25, 2021
Remote working is more complicated than you think
If working from home is not a solution for all your employees, your business continuity plan (BCP) demands an alternative.
Not all employees can or want to work from home for extended periods, so your Business Continuity Planning (BCP) must reflect this.
One of the developments to emerge from the pandemic was that a lot of white-collar workers found they could work very productively from home. The ICT industry has promoted the concept of ‘telecommuting’ for well over a decade now, but it only finally came about for almost everyone due to a disaster.
But working from home is not just about productivity. It has also been a big stretch for business services such as IT, HR and customer service to keep business operations running over a long period with dispersed employees. So, in the event of an extension of social distancing requirements, or of an entirely new pandemic, should your BCP include a second location for your staff to work?
Working from home doesn’t work for everyone
While many have found it easy to work from home, a great number have not. During the various lockdowns, parents with small children, young people in share houses or those living in extended family households found it difficult to get the space and quiet they need to perform their tasks and conduct video meetings. At the other end of the scale, people who lived alone found they missed the company and conviviality of their work colleagues. The loneliness was tough on people mentally, especially when their social lives were also ‘on hold’.
In addition, there are certain professions and industries that simply can’t work flexibly for corporate compliance reasons, even post-pandemic. These include many organisations in financial services and government reluctant to enable access to secure systems via a remote link. Workers needing specialist equipment, such as contact centre agents, may also need to work on-premises to maintain customer service.
When WFH is not a long-term solution
So, if a number of your employees are unable to work at home, or are unwilling to do so for more than a few weeks or months, what are your options – especially if you’re working on your BCP?
Interactive has been delivering Business Continuity services to Australian businesses for well over a decade. Complementing our hardware maintenance and data centre services, we provide physical locations where people can resume working in just hours in the case of a disaster. Each workstation in our BC Suites has a computer, ready to be fired up by our BC staff with the images your users require. We also offer ready-to-go, fully equipped Contact Centre facilities for your support staff.
Typically, our BC subscribers declare a disaster when a local power grid fails or a natural disaster when an area of a city is flooded – as in Brisbane in 2011. Nationally, the most common incident or crisis for invoking our service is technology failure, and around a quarter of declarations exceed a week in duration. In the case of the COVID-19 emergency management, it was not buildings or other structures that failed, but a secure space was still needed for customers to continued operations. These particular customers needed to split offices to accommodate multiple employees for whom working from home was not an option. This was in order that all of their staff could maintain a safe distance from one another – either at home, in their own offices or at Interactive’s BC Suites.
A new operational trend
Moving out of the pandemic, surveys have found Over 50% of Australia’s office real estate isn’t being used, as office staff continue to work from home. Yet surveys have found a virtual meeting can’t replace the effectiveness of face-to-face meetings and group work. Where does that leave businesses?
Interactive has leveraged its business continuity knowledge and data centre resiliency to develop our high-availability serviced office solution. With our experience, expertise and facilities to provide you with a secure and compliant serviced office solution, enabling you to decentralise your operations, reduce your CBD real estate costs and provide your staff with a location where they can effectively conduct face-to-face meetings
We take away the hassle of running your own office environment by providing fully equipped, ready-to-go office suites complete with desks, chairs, PCs or laptops, telephony and all major telco options on-site. Our serviced office suites are also backed by UPS and generator resilient infrastructure to ensure your business remains operational 24/7.
Continuous planning for the future
For many Australian businesses, this may have been the first time a pandemic has considered in their Business Continuity Planning. However, it may take years rather than months for the danger to pass – and there is potential for future global viruses in the years to come. Once you’ve done a business impact analysis, you’ll see this potential must be factored into any future BC Plan – along with natural disasters such as fire, storm or flood; acts of terrorism and power or telecommunications outages.
This makes it essential for all businesses to assure their ability to rapidly access alternative office space and equipment – to allow their workforce to sit it out safely in comfort with access to necessary tools and in the company of at least some of their colleagues.