Trabajo en casa

Trabajo en casa

Hoy en día el mundo de la tecnología está en constante evolución. Como resultado de ello, hoy podemos decir que tenemos a la mano las herramientas de información y comunicación para realizar una gestión de un entorno de TI de forma remota.

Con las herramientas de Opmantek, trabajar de forma remota no debería representar ninguna dificultad. Si quieres saber cuales son las mejores características de las mismas para gestionar un entorno de forma remota da click aquí.

Sin embargo, también será importante poner de nuestra parte para crear un ambiente óptimo trabajando desde casa. Con estos consejos y la capacidad de nuestras herramientas, podrás manejar tu entorno de TI de una forma completamente profesional.

Manten un espacio dedicado a la “oficina”.

Cuando estés trabajando desde casa, mantén bien organizado un espacio que estará destinado para todas tus actividades laborales. Es importante que tengas todo lo necesario para poder trabajar con toda la comodidad, ayudándote con todo lo que puedas necesitar como pantallas, teclados o incluso sillas ergonómicas.

Crea una rutina por las mañanas.

Es diferente crear una rutina para empezar a trabajar que decidir una hora para sentarte a comenzar tus actividades. Será mejor plantearte una actividad que te dirija hacia el espacio dedicado para laborar; podría ser una taza de café o hacer algo de ejercicio. Una rutina puede ser más poderosa que designar un horario específico.

Manten un horario regular.

Establece un horario y síguelo la mayor parte del tiempo. Tener pautas claras sobre cuándo trabajar y terminar un día ayuda a muchos trabajadores remotos a mantener el equilibrio entre la vida laboral y personal. Dicho esto, uno de los beneficios del trabajo remoto es la flexibilidad. Cuando lo hagas, asegúrate de apegarte a los tiempos previamente establecidos.

Establece reglas básicas con las personas en tu espacio.

Establece reglas básicas con otras personas en tu hogar o que compartan tu espacio cuando trabajes. De este modo podrás organizarte de una mejor manera y hacerle saber a las personas a tu alrededor que en determinado tiempo del día no estarás disponible.

Toma algunos recesos.

Básate en las políticas sobre recesos en tu empresa y tómalos. Si trabajas por cuenta propia, tómate el tiempo adecuado durante el día para alejarte de la pantalla de la computadora y el teléfono. Una hora de almuerzo y dos descansos de 15 minutos parecen ser el estándar para los empleados de tiempo completo.

Hazlo personal.

En conclusión, deberás aprender que sirve mejor para ti. A veces la respuesta podría parecer obvia pero en otras ocaciones podrás necesitar otros puntos de vista. Por lo tanto, no dudes en consultar artículos o consejos con otros compañeros que también estén trabajando de manera remota.

COVID-19 update from Craig Nelson, Opmantek CEO

COVID-19 update from Craig Nelson, Opmantek CEO

To our customers, partners, users, community and friends,

As the global COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, I want to share the steps that Opmantek is taking to ensure the health and well-being of our employees and our business continuity.

We know that Opmantek has a vital role in your business — whether that’s through our products managing and monitoring your infrastructure or managing your assets. I want to assure you that we foresee no interruptions to our ability to deliver our support and services — and we don’t foresee any disruption to our critical business operations. We will continue to offer support and services as you need them. Our development team continues to roll out excellent products and new features.

Our company is distributed by design. The team, systems and our infrastructure is distributed. Many of our staff do already work from remotely around the globe. Those who worked from one of our offices have now set up home offices during this time so that we are still able to “follow the sun” in supporting our customers. We are using all the collaboration tools like you (Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and so forth) to communicate quickly and effectively. I see great resilience in our staff who are making every effort to respond immediately to our customers needs and making us all proud.

Like every other business, we are not attending any face to face meetings and have moved all meetings online.

We know this is an uncertain time. I know that you’re inbox will be full of emails like this, so the team and I will provide you with updates on our blog as required.

Stay safe, and all our best wishes to you and your family,

Craig

A Teleworkers guide to maintaining productivity

A Teleworkers guide to maintaining productivity

The world has changed. 2020 had so much promise and now we’ve had to reshape the way we look at work completely. With most companies transitioning to a teleworking model, there will be and has already been, a significant disruption in productivity. The companies that have leant on remote working or flexible office hours historically are much better suited to accommodate a dramatic shift, the magnitude of which I haven’t seen in my lifetime.

For some workers, myself included, the teleworking landscape is not new. People have transitioned standard workdays to be outside of the office, either from home, co-working spaces or hipster cafes. With this lifestyle being popular for some time now, there is plenty of great advice on how to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. I have summarised the most important ones below.

Create a work location

Whether you have an office at home or a make-shift on your dining table, create a space that is dedicated solely to work. You must resist the temptation to work from a laptop on the couch or worse, in bed. This is not only detrimental to your health, but mentally you are starting in the negative, making you less productive. The cognitive shift from ‘on fire achieving goals’ to ‘this is where I normally binge-watch three seasons and a family value meal’’’ is staggeringly quick.

Trust me.

Optimize your workspace

Optimizing may be harder currently, but you should try to make your new workspace as ‘optimal’  as possible. Use a comfortable chair, raise your screens, use external keyboards, good lighting. The more comfortable you are in this space the more focused you will be on working. But more importantly, one crucial point that is handed down from generation to generation; do not work in your PJs. You’ve already decided your commitment from the get-go.

Have your shower. Brush your teeth. Put on casual work clothes. These physical steps do trigger parts in your brain to help get you in the work mindset.

Schedule your workday

Don’t change too much! Make sure you keep that alarm, if it was 5:20 am before you started working from home, keep it that way. Maintain the same regiment that you operated on when you weren’t teleworking. This will be important for you to stay in a work-focused mindset and to create that atmosphere throughout your house.

This is crucial at both ends of the workday as well, maintain a strict start and finish time. Just because the laptop is there, doesn’t mean you’re on the clock. Shut down all your tabs, press the off button and cultivate that defined work/life balance.

Maintain your To-Do List

The management of your task list becomes paramount when there are fewer people involved in the day to day proceedings. Keeping your most important tasks top-of-mind and in your queue will help keep you on track in the days and weeks ahead. Try and put the highest priority and most challenging first every day. Get them done before your brain realizes and kicks in those ten fantastic valid excuses to procrastinate.

Further, lists are a fantastic way to help decrease anxiety! Every part will help over the coming months.

“Organize and contain a sense of inner chaos, which can make your load feel more manageable.” – Psychology Today

Act more healthily

A lot of us will now have a terrific opportunity to be more active than usual. I, for one, am much more comfortable doing ten push-ups at home compared to in the office. The Heart Foundation of Australia recommends that you should get up from your desk every thirty minutes, this means you will have ample opportunity to do some light exercise. Also, the time saved in your commute and getting ready for work can be reassigned to something more movement-based.

Couple this with a healthy diet and you will keep your energy up throughout the day.

Stay Connected

However isolated you are, you should always stay connected. Start creating the habit of regular communications with your friends, family and also your co-workers, ensuring that you’re not doing everyday solo. Your business probably has an instant messenger but if not, get one going. You can have a more personable, casual chat through a messenger that you can’t through email. Plus GIFs are more socially acceptable.

Following these steps and recognizing how you work at your best, will help increase your productivity while teleworking.  

And if all else fails, there’s now an abundance of time to prank your flatmate.

Keep calm and stay safe (flatmate).

 

COVID-19 Effects On Businesses: Your Business Is Not Dead, But Your Market Probably Is

COVID-19 Effects On Businesses: Your Business Is Not Dead, But Your Market Probably Is

Over this past week I’ve received a number of calls from CEO’s and founders seeking advice on how to navigate through the economic downturn that we are faced with. All businesses will need to change – some more than others – some will be significantly boosted by this period while others will be significantly harmed. In Australia, we haven’t had a recession since 1990/91, so if we do enter recession, the majority of people in the workforce will have never experienced one – I am 50 years old and was at University when Australia had its last recession. For those of us operating in the tech industry, we have experienced several significant economic events – especially the .com crash of 2000 and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. We know what happens during economic slowdown while there are some unique factors at play in relation to COVID-19 also.

 

I’m going to focus my comments towards entrepreneurs and high growth companies (particularly tech companies), but there will be some relevance to all businesses.

Fundamentally what we have with the COVID-19 coronavirus, is a change in the marketplace and without doubt, economic slowdown. There are some unique factors relating to the virus pandemic, but there are also common forces at play that relate simply to an economic slowdown. Some businesses will naturally flourish, for example, if you’re producing products which help people work from home, you’re probably excited at the opportunity, if you’re in a business which requires mass gatherings, e.g. an events business, you might be wondering how you’re going to get through this. Every business has ways they can optimise the outcome for themselves. For some it’s about minimising losses for others it’s about maximising gains. Let’s look at fundamentally how this works.

 

I’m not going to cover off the simple things which we should already know or have read about, but I will talk about some fundamentals I don’t see being written about.

There are two fundamental parts to a business, not to oversimplify it, but a business has operational costs and incomes (which are typically sales).

Let’s start with the two combined together:

 

Cash Burn and OPEX

Quite simply as we all know the difference between the cash in and cash out is your burn rate. If you need to reduce your cash burn, then do it fast. We will all be implementing travel bans etc so those cost reductions will happen naturally. If people are working from home, try and sort something out with your rent to have it reduced or stopped. If you need to cut staff, then try and do it all at once – you don’t want people coming in each day worried, those that are left need to feel safe and positive – they will not feel that if a coworker is getting retrenched every second week (or day). You need to structure your business for the new reality, do not hang on to the past – it’s not your fault and you haven’t failed anyone. Alternatives to cutting staff include reducing all staff salaries, cutting incentive payments (especially for executives – show some good leadership and cut your own and other executive salary and incentives harder than the rest of the staff, it is common to cut exec incentives in full and salaries by as much as 30-40%), don’t forget that an employee’s leave will be paid out if you retrench them so also look at enforced leave (especially leave without pay) or reduced hours for staff in order to keep the team together. Also, remember that you’re going to get some good government assistance too, so factor that in.

 

Cash Incomes and Sales/Marketing 

During an economic slowdown, for most businesses, it is harder to raise capital and it’s also harder to generate sales, however some businesses will flourish in hard economic times.

In summary – your market no matter which side of it you are on has changed so your business needs to change with it.

 

The key on the revenue side (when you have economic slowdown or any other event which produces significant changes to the market) is that it becomes necessary to realign how you are selling your products and potentially which market segments you are selling them to. In the situation that we are in at the moment with COVID-19, we know there are a lot of home workers, pressure on the healthcare system, certain government departments are going to spend lots more and there will be boosts to many online businesses etc.

 

Step 1. Look at who is going to be busier or benefit from this new market – if they are potential clients for you, then target them.

You should also look at how buying processes and decisions change – again this is predictable. There will be less face to face meetings and more virtual. Adapt to online and virtual sales. For many smaller/high growth businesses this is fantastic as you won’t have to compete face to face on sales for the time being.  One clever tactic is to organise a “virtual tour” for one of your rarer people– believe me it works, for example, “our CEO will be conducting Zoom meetings with clients in San Francisco this week, so I’m reaching out to see if I can schedule some time before he moves on to London next week”.

 

As the remote workforce is on the rise it is crucial to stay connected to your business community to enable your growth. Business incubators such as the Gold Coast Innovation Hub are now offering virtual membership options; facilitating continued connections, collaborations, grow, investment opportunities and expansion into global markets.

 

Step 2. Adapt your sales strategies to the new manner in which your potential clients are working.

The other part of the buying process which always changes during an economic slowdown is that more businesses buy things that reduce their costs and less businesses buy things that increase their productivity – look at your potential clients, if they are a net beneficiary in the new market they will likely keep investing in growth – most will be losers (that’s what the slowdown is – net losers) so most of them will be looking to reduce costs. The “losers” don’t actually stop spending, they are happy to spend on products which help streamline their costs and assist in managing their pain.  A lot of products have multiple benefits (I’m sure yours do) and you can reproductise and remarket your products so that they realign with new decision making – especially cost-cutting decisions which are widespread during a significant economic slowdown. In the case of this particular slowdown, there are obvious changes – nobody is travelling, more people are working from home, businesses cutting costs so it’s about realigning and pivoting your marketing and productisation messages, and potentially making some tweaks to your products, but remember, we will get out of the economic slowdown so you are likely to want to focus on your marketing and sales to align with the shift in the buyer’s mindset than completely changing your products.

 

Step 3. Adapt your productisation and your sales and marketing messages to align with the new market.

Channels to market change with new markets also. Look at your resellers or channels to market, in this new market if they rely on face to face sales or mass gatherings at events, then likely they are no longer good channels – if they work mostly in sectors that are being ravaged (e.g. travel) then they may no longer be a good channel – move your sales to channels that make sense to the new market.

 

Step 4. Secure your current sales channels/sales partners if necessary or move your sales channels and partners to those that align with the new market.

 Let’s look at a simple example that everyone can relate to (and specifically steer around a tech business) – a bicycle (and please excuse lots of assumptions below – you should do market testing when repositioning anything).  You’re selling bikes and you’re selling them mostly through your shop and bike clubs. You’re selling awesome bikes, which are light in weight, strong and fast and that’s your main pitch. Your whole market just changed. Bike club memberships are going to drop, as will activity at the clubs – they aren’t the right channel anymore. There is also going to be less foot traffic in the store so you may need to close that or maybe it can survive or shrink – watch and act fast if you need to. You will likely want to be pushing more of your sales through online, social media and referrals. Bike ownership is probably not going to tank – in fact, it is quite possible it will rise as more people work from home and want to take a break and get out on a bike, and as more people look for socially isolated exercise rather than gyms. The benefits of the bike may well now also be that you can use your bike and stay off public transport in order to avoid the virus. Your whole pitch changes. Looking at your product set within your bike range – if you’re selling on socially isolated exercise and avoidance of public transport, it may well be that there is not enough extra benefit of a high-end bike over a low-end bike. The benefits of high-end bikes may now become secondary marketing items (they don’t go away; they just get pushed back). Sales of products like rollers (which allow you to ride your bike indoor at home for exercise rather than go to the gym) may increase and perhaps could be packaged with a bike in a new productisation effort if you expect to see an increase in purchases of home gym equipment including exercise bikes.

 

 

I’m sure you get the idea – your market is probably dead, but you are not – you are simply in a new market.  

 

These are unprecedented times with COVID-19, we know there are a lot of teleworkers, pressure on the healthcare system, certain government departments are going to be under pressure to boosts online businesses and they will need our expertise to do this.

Every business will need to change, Opmantek want to help our community to optimise their outcomes; this is where access to network management support is critical so that Australians can stay better connected.

As a final note – financially at this time – re-do your forecast, especially your cash flow forecast. The economy recovers slower than the virus – look at 12 months to start with.  You need to step back just like you would if you were starting a new company or a new division launching into a new market, look at how the market is reacting and adapt fast. Those that are familiar with agile project management within the software development world – use similar methods in your financials too –be very conscious that your ability to plan twelve months is now a lot lower than it used to be and you need to undertake agile planning and forecasting.

This will be a time of continual change however we do know that these things will be a constant.

 

How to ensure business continuity when disaster strikes

How to ensure business continuity when disaster strikes

Modern businesses face scores of challenges in the marketplace from competitors, regulators and the ever-changing needs of their customers. But while these challenges are focussed upon as part of daily business, planning for a disaster outside the company’s control can often be ignored. 

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has thrown this situation into sharp relief, with global stock markets and many companies and industries severely impacted as authorities struggle to contain the pandemic.

Many businesses are scrambling to keep up with events, struggling to keep their services up. But businesses with strong disaster management plans in place are weathering the storm, empowering their staff to make the changes necessary to allow their operations to continue with minimal disruption.

So just as Winston Churchill is said to have uttered, “never waste a good crisis,” the emergence of this virus and its social impact, is an opportunity to fortify your business.

Disaster management in action

A great response to crisis is the recent action taken by the American investment and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase, which instructed thousands of its employees to work from home for one day. 

This test of their business continuity plan (BCP) was designed to test remote access capabilities in the case people had to work from home for extended periods. There are also reports that the company is testing backup trading sites just in case its main trading floors in London and New York are affected by COVID-19. (SOURCE)

Any interruption to JPMorgan Chase’s services could have severe consequences. So these tests are prudent moves, signalling competence to markets while ensuring staff are ready for anything.

But this testing also shows that businesses who don’t have such contingency plans are hostages to events, unable to adapt for a crisis situation. 

Creating a strong working network

If a pandemic sweeps through, or an earthquake strikes, even if the power goes out for a prolonged period of time, it’s vital that your business can continue its operations. Behind the scenes it may be a struggle, but to the customer and the rest of the world, it looks like business as usual.

This is where utilising the skills of a Managed Service Provider can pay huge dividends. And allow you to continue what you do best, and that’s running your business. 

MSP companies provide services that run your business’ online aspects from an outside location, as a remote IT Department. They can provide a complete service or supplement your existing team with specialist capabilities.

Running a work from home test may result in:

  1. Each employee identifying any issues specific to their set-up
  2. Checking minimum bandwidth for each employee (ensuring each home connection has the minimum bandwidth)
  3. See the impact to infrastructure with the changes in routing and bandwidth utilisation
  4. The behaviour of applications

So in the event that a disaster of any kind strikes your business, you will be confident that your infrastructure is reliable and your team is ready for any adjustments to be made. This means your staff can work from home or another location (a diversity site). They will have access to all the tools they need to complete their jobs with confidence, all while meeting the needs of customers and other stakeholders without interruption.

Scalability and resilience

With an MSP handling your key IT functions from an external location, another key consideration is to create the flexibility for your company’s workers to continue their tasks from remote locations.

Whilst this capacity becoming more common in regular working life due to social changes, it’s also an advantageous capability to help your business deal with a disaster.

To make sure this is possible, it’s vital to focus on creating strong broadband links for remote employees, ensuring your company can switch from regular working practises to a distributed network quickly and efficiently.

At a basic level, this involves ensuring your telecommunications network is as modern and reliable as possible, allowing any important communication to be disseminated quickly to your workforce, customers and the community through any digital means. 

This is also advantageous because any delays in sending messages could severely impact your business and its ability to adjust to changes quickly.

Crisis situations are of course often very stressful, so it’s also crucial to have resilient and reliable automation capabilities to reduce workload if a disaster strikes, allowing your employees to have more time to focus on solving problems.

A MSP will use robust and scalable network management and monitoring tools that are automation capable. When choosing a MSP, ask about how they can grow with you and how they use automation to meets Service Level Agreements.

Do you have a Business Continuity Plan?

Whilst establishing the ability for remote or alternative working locations and an MSP on deck is a great start for crisis management, it also pays to have a plan for when the unexpected strikes.

A Business Continuity Plan – also known as a BCP – is a vital tool that every modern company should have prepared to enact at a moment’s notice.

A BCP is a blueprint for keeping your business’ day-to-day and long-term services and goals running even in the face of major disruptions, drawing on all of our capabilities and assets to keep things on an even keel.

The BCP also uses up-to-date information about the company and its assets to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies, ensuring the most important things are dealt with first.

Without an up-to-date BCP tailored exactly to your company’s needs, you could be vulnerable to events outside your control, and if and when they strike, be overwhelmed by them.

This is a major concern because any problem with a company’s services can severely impact its customer base and even threaten its survival. So if you don’t have a BCP, it is best to start the process now.

Creating a BCP for your company

To create a BCP for you company, the first move is usually to conduct what’s called a Business Continuity Impact Analysis.

This process considers a wide range of variables that could affect your business in the event of a disaster, and tests what impact they could have. Everything from financial reporting to customer service is put through its paces, testing for weaknesses and identifying strengths to create a thorough understanding of how your business could perform under severe pressure.

The next step is to create an actionable plan for your employees to follow at every level of the company if a disaster strikes and services are disrupted. This can be done with expert help from outside consultants, and should be made as thorough as possible.

As part of this process, your company should also develop processes to help it recover from a disaster, not just respond to and manage it. While ensuring continuity of service is vital, it’s equally if not more important to create methods of restoring your company’s full abilities.

For example, if there is a major power failure at your office building and all back up generators fail (or run out of fuel), a good BCP would allow for employees to take laptops to outside locations and continue working whilst other employees coordinate efforts to restore the power.

Testing and enacting your capabilities

Whilst having a plan is essential, it’s no guarantee of success. 

That’s why testing your BCP is a vital part of the process to ensure any weak points are identified and dealt with, and your employees know what to expect even when the unexpected strikes.

A great way to ensure this happens is to hold a training session with your employees, creating a disaster scenario that allows the activation of the BCP.

You can then track its progress and see if it meets your business’ needs, keeping your operations online and your customers informed and happy.

Preparation is the best protection

The recent emergence of COVID-19 and its global impact has highlighted the importance of being prepared for a disaster.

With a robust and reliable telecommunications network operated by a quality MSP, your company can ensure its operations won’t be disrupted by any unforeseen disasters.

And with an up-to-date BCP that’s regularly tested and trained for, your company will be able to weather any storm that comes its way and even outperform its rivals if they are unprepared.