Wednesday 28th February is a day most commuters and businesses won’t forget in a hurry! Met Éireann and the Office of Emergency Planning announced, Ned Stark style, that “Winter Is Coming” in the form of the Beast from the East and Storm Emma with the country on a red weather alert. It’s a two hour commute to work, no public transport, a red weather alert and you need to figure out how to work from home – sound familiar?
Businesses had to act fast and decided to either shut up shop and take the hit on the loss of business for the duration, or figure out some way for employees to work from home and not risk coming into the office if it wasn’t safe to do so.
A large number of businesses across the country would still have had no specific disaster recovery or business continuity plan of action in place, despite previous experience with the issues surrounding Hurricane Ophelia still being fresh in the mind from late last year.
“Small businesses must ensure that they have plans in place for the worst-case scenario and that these are communicated to staff,” Sven Spollen-Behrens, director of the SFA (Small Firms Association), said. “Then it is a matter of monitoring the situation closely and checking the Met Éireann website for updates throughout the coming days. At all times, safety considerations should be paramount.”
By having a simple, but yet effective, emergency contingency plan in place it’s just a matter of activating it and letting employees know they have the mobility to work from home, which will help both minimise disruption to your business and also ensure employee safety.
Questions asked in businesses across the country included:
Do employees have fibre broadband at home and is it sufficient for their working needs?
How do we put a call divert on our office number?
Can we put an out of office message on our phones stating we’re closed due to the weather?
Is it acceptable for employees to be taking business calls on their personal mobile phones?
How quickly can we adjust our cloud phone system?
Do we even have a hosted PBX that allows us to directly make changes quickly as the situation demands?
Here at Magnet Networks, unlike other providers, both our internal day to day operations and our customer facing support operations were unaffected by the nationwide shutdown. The safety of our staff is of paramount importance to us so we closed our main office, and yet, our staff were able to continue working from home without missing a step.
All we needed were: broadband, a computer or laptop and/ or mobile phone thanks to Office in a Box and Magnet Voice!
With Office in a Box and Magnet Voice our staff were able to access our work systems, emails and make and receive calls no different to when we’re in the office via the Magnet Voice PC softphone or the Magnet Voice mobile app for Android and iPhone.
From our support teams working from home remotely to assist our customers to internal and external conference calls going ahead as scheduled through the cloud, we were able to continue our day to day operations as normal, even under the circumstances.
Once we got notified to work from home it simply took as long as it takes to turn your computer on, connect to the work VPN and open the Magnet Voice softphone or mobile app and we were all ready to work straight away, which left plenty of time to make sure there was enough bread, snacks and food at home to keep us going for a few days, unlike those unlucky ones out there…
“27 staff from our two call centres all worked from home and because they were using the app, we didn’t miss one enquiry as businesses called about setting up the service,” said Mark Kellett, CEO, Magnet Networks.
“Many of our client businesses already use the app widely in their sales teams, but with the current weather alerts, companies were giving it to their entire staff to enable them to safely work from home.
“Once you turn on the app, your office phone stops ringing and your home or car seamlessly becomes your workplace across an unlimited number of devices.
“In less than 90 seconds clients were able to set up an out of office message if they were closing, and for the majority who remained open, they were able to get the app up and running in the same amount of time.
“We are the only main provider with an app that can let your desk phone be anywhere.
“We have now had two serious weather disruptions in the past five months, with four business days lost to many companies.
“The reality for businesses is that these events will become more common in the coming years.
“The beauty of the app is that it is not just diverting calls, it takes your office phone system to any number of locations and to any laptop or handset.
“And because your phone system is still operating in the same manner, a business owner will still be able to get complete visibility and stats on all activity.
“On the Wednesday and Thursday alone we noted a 300% increase in daily usage on our Magnet Voice app from our customers taking advantage of the ease of use and flexibility to switch their calls from the office to their staff working remotely from home due to the inclement weather conditions.”
To find out more about what Magnet Networks Office in a Box and Magnet Voice can do for your business call us on 1800 819 888.