It's Snow Joke – Tips for Keeping your Business Running in Adverse Conditions

Wow. A week of snow and the whole country grinds to a halt! So what does that mean for your business? What precautions have you put in place to deal with these extreme conditions or are you now wishing you had?

Here’s a few things you should look into if you haven’t done so already.

Remote Desktop/VPN – We have this setup in our office so that all our staff can effectively work from home as if they were sitting at their office PC’s. I work from home as much as I can on ‘bigger picture stuff’ and use remote desktop to communicate with the office, usually dealing with email and copying files across to my local machine to work on.

VOIP telephone system – This is quite high up my shopping list. The next time we change phone system this is the way I’ll go. So basically a VOIP (Voice over IP) system will allow you to transfer calls between office and mobile automatically so your callers hasn’t a clue where you are and neither do they need to know. On weeks like this if the office is unmanned you can transfer the calls around so you don’t lose out on sales opportunities or customer enquiries.

Smart Phones – A good smart phone connected to your email system means you’re in front of your email whenever you have a 3G connection (i.e. most of the time). I have the iPhone and love it. It keeps me in touch…

Anything in the cloud – If you’ve not got an expensive internal server running your office that you can setup VPN or Remote Desktop on, take a look into software as a service – hosted in the cloud. You can run your whole office PC these days from the cloud and access it all from anywhere with an Internet connection. This could be the perfect option if you’re starting off in an office or have a couple of people working for you remotely.

So don’t let this weather bring your business to a standstill, even if the whole rest of the country is…after all, I’m sure there is some work you can do in Dubai or somewhere and I’m pretty sure it’s not snowing there!

Now Your Thoughts

  • Can you add any other suggestions to help keep people working when conditions are this severe?

7 Comments

  1. Joanne Jacobs on 21st December 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Yep agree with the above. I’ve had a Skype-in number I use as my ‘landline’ phone number for 3 years now. It’s excellent – wherever I happen to be, my landline is the same number, and if I can’t take a call I get an email saying a voicemail has been left. (I actually have no idea what my home phone number is – I use that phone number for all professional services too. This way if I move address, I still get calls.)

    Skype is also good for group calls. I had a team spread out over Australia, all on different time zones, but we met up on a Friday for a weekly meeting via Skype and because we had a standard process of Meeting Minutes and agenda items, we used to whip through the meeting quickly but were easily able to address issues. (Sometimes bureaucracy works.)

    There’s also plenty of ways to keep corporate documentation accessible and secure (encrypted folders on Dropbox, individual access to hosted content, etc), and there are ways of having office deliveries handled (besides re-routing parcels, there are group reception services and local office-sitting services). Really the only thing you lack from having staff work from home is the conviviality and community from having people around. And at Christmas, there’s probably plenty of that at home in any case 🙂

    • Banksy on 22nd December 2010 at 11:37 am

      Hi Joanne,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting – it’s great to see you on my blog.

      You bring up some great points – I’d not even considered using a skype-in number. I use it for outgoing and conference calls with multiple people and as you say, it works a treat. I’m definately going to have to check out the inbound benefits.

      I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year

      Al

      • Graham White on 23rd December 2010 at 9:04 am

        But, don’t forget the Skype terms and conditions don’t permit commercial use, sorry to be a kill-joy.

  2. orviwan on 21st December 2010 at 5:14 pm

    All good stuff, thanks for sharing.

    I’d probably only add 2 things.

    1. Make sure staff know what to do and who to contact. This information should be published on your Intranet or in your staff handbook.

    2. Instant messaging. Preferably something like Skype, which is secure and supports text, voice and video.

    • Banksy on 22nd December 2010 at 11:39 am

      Hi Jon,

      Great input thanks – Good point re contact numbers and processes, this becomes especially important as the company grows of course.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      A

  3. Graham White on 23rd December 2010 at 9:07 am

    If your company can afford it I would recommend moving staff from desktop computers to laptops and giving them VPN access back to the office. A great many apps these days can be delivered via a web browser. Files can either be kept locally on the laptop or in centralised storage accessible via VPN. E-mail can be replicated locally with any decent client. Totally removes the need for any sort of VNC solution, reduces network traffic and provides the capability to work off-line.

    • Banksy on 30th December 2010 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks for the comment Graham – We should feel privileged to have such an expert help out on the blog 🙂 You can’t buy your kind of experience cheap 🙂

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