Let it snow – perhaps now is the time to test flexible working

Let it snow business as usual

Most of the country has been issued with a snow warning in anticipation of the arrival of the “Beast from the East” – a stretch of cold air heading our way from Siberia. How lovely.

Back in 2013, 77% of organisations were affected by severe weather. Yet despite it being acknowledged as one of the biggest threats to UK businesses, few are often prepared for the disruption it causes.

In the same year, a Chartered Management Institute report highlighted that 56% of organisations had a formal business continuity plan in place for dealing with extreme weather. Not bad. But still more work to be done here.

And with so much talk around the topic of flexible working, thanks to the government’s new legislation which gives employees the right to request flexible work, perhaps now is a good time to think about what tools you and your employees need in order to work from home during this batch of cold weather.

Below are a few tools that have been developed and designed by Citrix to make your working day easier and far more efficient – we use them ourselves so we know they work. And by the way – these all come with a free 30 day trial. Happy days!

Communication
Well, it probably comes as no surprise to you that I’m going to suggest using an online meeting tool. Just because the snow is on its way, it doesn’t mean that you have to cancel your face-to-face meetings. Online meetings allow you to share documents and your webcam so you can still ‘see’ your audience members. And free audio via your computer microphone and speakers means that you don’t have to run up large phone bills.

GoToMeeting Free
A free online meeting tool for up to three people. Plus there is no need to sign up or download any software.
Check it out here

GoToMeeting Pro
Includes a few handy extras, including dial in options for those on the move, recording and the ability to meet up to 100 people.
Free 30 day trial here


Sending large files – securely
If you need to send large files securely, take a look at ShareFile – it’s a business file sync and sharing service with data protected through AES 256-bit encryption. It’s also simple to use which is always a winner (believe me – I use it!).

ShareFile
Free 30 day trial here


Project management
Another essential tool is Podio, a social collaboration platform that can efficiently organise team tasks and provide real-time project updates. If you and your team are working on a project (or even a series of projects), then it is well worth exploring Podio – a cloud-based product that enables you to store all of your project information in one place. It makes it quick and easy to view everything you need to see, as well as add comments for your team members to action. It’s free for up to 5 users, and packages are available for larger teams.

Podio
Free 30 day trial here

 

By allowing employees to work flexibly, your business can easily avoid wintertime disruptions. And implementing a remote working plan will also give your business a valuable competitive advantage. While your competitors are losing 2 or 3 hours a day to increased travel times and weather delays, your employees will be clocking in at the normal time and getting a full day’s work done.

I’d encourage you to give your employees the ability to work from home and avoid travel chaos this winter. It’s safer and far more productive.

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About the author

Gemma Falconer is a Campaign Manager for Citrix. She is part of the EMEA marketing team and looks after the webinar programme, email nurturing and content creation for the UK. In her spare time, you'll find her diving around a volleyball court, trying to learn Portuguese and eating cake – lots of cake! Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter More blog posts by Gemma Falconer ››
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