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How Remote Working Saved Us From The Beast From The East

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With the right tools and some technical knowhow, you can keep your business going through rain, sleet or inches and inches of snow.


How do you make remote working work for you?

You might not have asked yourself this question much before, but the recent extreme weather may have brought it to the forefront of your mind. As the somewhat dainty-sounding Storm Emma teamed up with the less dainty-sounding Beast from the East, temperatures dropped to well below zero across the whole of the UK, bringing snow, misery and then some more snow.

Schools closed, weather warnings were issued, the NHS needed the armed forces to get its staff to work… And businesses, like everyone else, felt the effects of the bitter winter chill.

Playing in snow - remote working
Don’t have any remote working abilities? You might as well go play in the snow.

With roads too icy to drive on and public transport heavily disrupted, many companies were either forced to shut up shop for the day or work with a skeleton crew in place. That means lost time and, of course, lost money. In previous years, the cost of extreme weather has cost the nation as much as £500 million a day, and there’s little reason to think this time will be much different.

Business As Usual

But just because some businesses are finding themselves frozen stiff, it doesn’t have to be that way. Take TMB’s Hampshire office, for example. Despite being close to the south coast, it was still hit hard by the snow. Most of the team were unable to get into work, or they had to stay at home to care for children whose schools had closed for the day.

Yet somehow we managed to maintain full service. From a customer’s point of view, it was business as usual. Our support team were still there for our customers, our salespeople continued to answer queries from prospects, and our HR and finance staff weren’t been greatly hindered by the weather either.

The Secret Of Remote Working

So how did we do it? Do we have some kind of super power?

No, not at all – unless knowing how to make best use of technology to maintain normal working operations counts as a super power.

Lady on sofa using laptop - remote working
Working from home can be a success if you have the right IT solutions.

The fact is with the right combination of computer hardware and software, many businesses can get through a period like this with minimal disruption. At TMB, for example, we can use remote access to enable our team to use their work PCs via special software on their home computers. Alternatively, they can take their laptop home and connect to the business network over the internet, doing practically everything they would normally do in the office. Plus Microsoft Office 365 makes it a doddle for them to access documents such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, as well as their emails and Skype messages.

Remote Working And Security

Being able to access our network from outside of our premises is convenient, but it also raises a ton of questions related to security. Any kind of external connection into our business network could be a potential weakness; if can get in, then what’s to stop unauthorised parties doing the same?

In short, what stops them is our team of cyber security experts. They make sure we have the right security measures in place and that they’re being used properly, so our defences are good and strong.

That doesn’t mean our whole workforce have to be computer experts, though. From the point of view of the end user, getting connected is easy, and then they’re free to get on with their work without fuss or bother.

Indeed, this very blog post is being written in this writer’s living room, using the power of a laptop and Office 365. It will be then be uploaded to our website, published and posted on social media – all without moving from the sofa.

Meanwhile, the snow continues to fall outside, whipped around by Emma and the Beast. But the TMB team, spread out across the South East and London, are working on, undeterred.

Can you say the same about your own team?


Interested in remote working for your business? Call TMB on 0333 900 9050 to find out how we can help you. Alternatively fill in our contact form or email us at info@tmb.co.uk.

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TMB Privacy Policy

Why do we hold personal data?

Like any business, TMB Group has to keep personal data about staff, clients and potential customers. When you fill in the contact form on our website, for example, we need to keep a record so we can get back to you. Data is also held so we can deliver our services and so we can provide useful information, such as security update news.

What data do we keep?
Depending on our relationship with you, we’ll hold information such as your first and last names, your email address, your phone number and your postal address. We will also possibly have details about your business and those who work for you. If you’re a customer, then we may have some of your banking detail so we’re able to accept payments for the services we provide.

How is your data stored?

As a responsible IT company, TMB stores personal data on secured computer systems. Anything that is archived will be placed on encrypted drives.

We do use third-party customer management software, Autotask, which means data may be stored on their servers, but only the data we need to deliver our services. The same goes for the Microsoft services we use, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which store information on Microsoft’s cloud servers. We also use Mailchimp for marketing purposes: to send emails and to manage subscriber lists.

These third parties are not permitted to share your data or to use it for marketing purposes. You can find Autotask’s privacy policy here: https://www.autotask.com/privacy-policy. Microsoft’s privacy policy for Office 365 is here: https://www.microsoft.com/online/legal/v2/?docid=43. Mailchimp’s policy is here: https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy.

How long do we keep your data?

We will keep your data in our systems until it is no longer relevant to our business, but you can request that we remove or update it at any time. We will also inform any relevant third parties of your request.

Access to your information

The key thing to remember is that your data belongs to you. That means you can request copies of your personal data any time you like, or to access and update it. You also have the right to be forgotten, so if you ask that we delete your data, we will do so or provide a valid reason why we are unable to. We will, of course, require proof of your identity before addressing any such request.

Depending on your request, your information may be provided to you electronically. In such cases, it will be provided in a commonly used format.

Unsubscribing and deletion

Unsubscribing is not the same as a request for us to delete personal data. If, for example, you unsubscribe from a mailing list, it is necessary to keep your email address on record to prevent marketing email from being sent to you. If we were to delete that information, we would have no way to tell if you have unsubscribed. Nevertheless, you still have the right to request erasure of your personal data.

Your right to complain

If, for any reason, you are unhappy with the way your personal data is treated by us, you have the right to complain to a supervisory authority. In the UK, that would be the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Website analytics

Anyone who visits our website will automatically have data about them collected via Google Analytics. This gives us broad information about what people are doing on our website and which pages they are looking at. It does not provide us with personal information that could be used to identify individuals.

Cookies

Cookies are small text files that web browsers receive from websites. They are stored on your computer, and they enable sites to do things like remember if you’ve visited before, if you’re a customer, what your preferences are and so on. You are entitled to view our website without them, but you may lose this kind of functionality if you do so.

International data transfers

Information that we collect may be stored and processed in and transferred between any of the countries in which we operate in order to enable us to use the information in accordance with this privacy policy.

Data controllers and processors

TMB is the controller for marketing activity and personal data/special category data we hold on our own employees, but we are the processor when processing our customers’ personal data (e.g. buying a licence for a named individual).  We  may use sub-processors for processing data given to us by customers.

What we won’t ever do is sell your data. And if you sign up to our mailing list, you’ll only receive marketing material from TMB as a result – no one else.

For any questions regarding your data, contact TMB’s technical director, Richard Shuker, at info@tmb.co.uk or write to us at A1 Endeavour Business Park, Penner Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1QN..