Yesterday’s long-awaited arrival of ‘freedom day’ means we are able to do more with our lives with social distancing rules now largely over. No more rule of six or one-metre-plus restrictions, nightclubs are open and people can attend concerts, packed theatres, all sporting events, while full-scale weddings are back too.
Rules had already loosened in May and since then coronavirus case numbers have begun to rise against a backdrop of a successful vaccination programme with 88% of all UK adults having received their first vaccination and 68% now double jabbed.
The latest seven-day average saw 45,242 cases recorded per day and health experts expect numbers to reach 100,000 per day during the summer.
The result of this rise has led to a so-called ‘pingdemic’ with people being informed they have to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. More than 500,000 were notified or pinged by the NHS COVID app in the week up to July 7, which was an increase of 46% on the previous week.
Pub chain Greene King was forced to closed 33 pubs due to staff shortages while British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson called for the self-isolation rules to be eased before August 19 when people who are fully vaccinated or have a negative test will not have to stay home.
For retail and hospitality, this is clearly an issue, but there are plenty of businesses that can still operate if their staff have to self-isolate. This was proven during the multiple lockdowns of the last 16 months.
For professional services, the creative and marketing industries, online retailers and many more businesses, their employees can simply use the tools they relied on during the earlier stages of the pandemic to remain contactable, productive and profitable.
Where these businesses have furloughed some members of staff and not set them up with home working solutions, now would be a good time to do so to remain operational until August 19.
You will know if your staff cannot work effectively from home if:
- You cannot transfer a call to them and vice versa
- They cannot make an outbound call and display the main business number
- You cannot see their availability via a presence indicator
- You cannot chat to them via a corporate messaging app
- They cannot access files and IT services they are used to using in the office
- You cannot hold an inclusive video meeting with them
- They cannot share their screen with meeting participants
Our engineers have been rolling out communications and IT solutions, which provide home working options, since the start of the pandemic last March. We have been using Microsoft Teams and other unified communications and desk handset/mobile twinning apps that integrate with phone systems and Outlook accounts while using our private data centre as a central resource for business servers and virtual private network (VPN) solutions to connect to them.
No doubt they can help your business too if you are currently thwarted by multiple pings or want to arm yourself for the whatever the future brings. If you still need a home working solution to support your business, please do not hesitate to contact me.