The annual freeze is upon the UK with forecasts of snow and freezing temperatures and of course the possible disruption to business inlcuding staff shortages as employees refuse to struggle through dangerous conditions to get to work. In this age of high speed internet and multitude of communications options it should be easy for desk based employees to work from home and it is not as expensive as you might think as long as you have made some preperations.
The obvious first choice is using VoIP (Voice Over IP) so that home based employees, even temporarily snowed in ones, can communicate with the office and customers seamlessly. As long as they have a reliable ADSL connection at home and a PC with suitable headset they can quickly establish a connection with the office phone system to remain a productive member of the team. Even if your business does not have a VoIP or VoIP enabled telephone system you can plan ahead by installing a VoIP Gateway which will easily upgrade your existing phone system to provide basic VoIP connectivity as a backup for this type of situation. The Telecom FM Onestream VoIP Gateway will connect to your small business phone system and provide VoIP connectivity for both the office phone system and also allow home workers to connect using an IP softphone on their computer or they could use an IP Phone at home and be able to answer incoming calls and transfer them back to the office. The Onestream Gateway also fetures a built-in GSM Gateway so the company can reduce their call charges to mobile phones or provide easy, low cost mobile extension functionality for their mobile workforce.
The next thing that a home based employee will need to do is access their office PC and applications from their home computer and this is easily achieved using a basic VNC service or a paid for remote access solutions such as gotomypc or logmein which are easy to set up and allow the user to work as though sitting at their desk.
With a little planning, and maybe a small outlay for items like VoIP Gateways which can provide additional benefits such as reduced call charges throughout the year, most small businesses can easily survive the cold snap.