The Grugeon Reynolds Emergency Blog: Welcome to world of homeworking

Welcome to world of homeworking

How is the impact of the Corona crisis affecting your working life?

At Grugeon Reynolds we have adopted the government guidelines as best we can.

A core team is still in the office at a much-reduced level, the remainder are working at home.

So far so good but how is this even possible?

Hosted desktop

Once restricted to big companies with complex IT infrastructure, the facility to ‘remote desktop’ is available on most Windows and Apple PC’s.

Like many other small businesses, we moved much of our activity online some years ago. The advantage being all the data and key programs are backed up and accessible remotely, meaning those with the relevant access can work on accounts and tax returns anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. We have still worked in the office most of the time because of methods and frankly its more social!

Downsides

The initial ones surround connectivity. Majority of the team have Wi-Fi and pcs, but not all are equipped for double screens, a common feature in modern offices, due to older software not being compatible. Having a big screen to drag documents around helps in review.

You also need space, particularly when you have a second monitor. The other big challenge is working alone, it’s easy to seek help in an office but at home you have to wait for a reply. If working on just one screen its not so easy to see notifications.

Basic hints and tips

Windows 7 and above support multiple monitors. Adapters for plugging in those old extra screens are readily available from Amazon or Currys PCWorld, older laptops will often have VGA sockets more modern laptops will have HDMI connections, some ultra portable laptops may have micro sockets. Either way, check what you need and the extra screen will help in the new home office. There are a lot of older monitors with VGA (chunky blue connectors) or DVI (white chunky fittings) just buy the correct adaptors.

Suppose you do have some paper and need to forward examples to colleagues. Most smart phones can also act as great mini scanners. Iphones have a great scanner app hidden in the notes feature (Thanks BCP for pointing that out!) and Android users can download the free Adobe Scan app which is really easy to use.

As mentioned above, if only working on one screen not so see easy to see the emails sometimes, so if you have a work phone or tablet, use it to access emails. If wanting to make sure someone is aware you have contacted him or her, try a text message.

Whats app is also a good way to notify everyone in the team simply and easily.

What next

At some point we will be trying a group zoom session just to keep in touch. This is also free for small groups. (www.zoom.us)

Whatever methods you are using make sure you are still complying with GDPR requirements. Sensitive material can be password protected within Word and Excel documents, PDF documents can be password protected but only if you have the Acrobat licence.

Other documents and scans can be uploaded to shared secured files such as is available with Google drive, Dropbox or Box.net. Free personal accounts are available to cover most small business needs.

Next issue

Will look at what help is available to small businesses to ease cash flow and hopefully some more details around the Government proposals. In the meantime feel free to share your experiences.

The Grugeon Reynolds Team

18 March 2020