As countries and cities begin to look at easing lockdown restrictions, this checklist for reopening businesses can help you jumpstart your return.
You and your employees have been quarantined in your homes for the past few days weeks months, and now authorities are looking to lift restrictions and open up. You may be thinking, “We’ll be back soon, and I can get out of this house!” The problem is, if you just pick up and go, and don’t prepare for having people back in the workplace, you may run into issues that could have been easily avoided. Now is the time to prepare.
This checklist is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it can help provide guidance as you look to reopen. It’s organised into four sections: People, Workplace, Technology, and Your Customers. Everyone’s situation is unique, but evaluating your plan with these components in mind can help you get organised and anticipate obstacles.
Business teams today are often distributed across the world, working at various hours with a variety of devices. Employees value flexible work environments that support real-time collaboration and remote access to all the information required to get their job done. And you need peace of mind that your business data is protected wherever it goes.
Technologies designed for a cloud-first, mobile-first world can empower a modern workforce. Enable your team to share documents, edit files simultaneously, and access company networks from different devices and locations. With the right cloud solution, you can foster team connections to ensure your staff stays productive. And, you can be sure your business data and devices are safeguarded against modern threats – even outside the office.
Boost productivity across your workplace by employing integrated mobile and cloud solutions from Microsoft.
Work better together
Provide anywhere access
Protect data wherever it goes
Support teamwork and communication across your business from multiple locations.
Enable your team to get
things done effectively – on
Safeguard business data
from unauthorized access and modern threats.
How Microsoft solutions can boost productivity in your business
Collaborate in real-time across the organizationWork simultaneously on documents with a dispersed team – and store and save your work in the cloud with Office 365. It works on any device – Windows 10 Pro, Android, iOS.
Enable employees to work how they wantProvide easy access to familiar Office apps on the devices your staff prefer – Windows, iOS, or Android – using cloud-based Office 365.
Get better device protection and security managementSafeguard and manage Windows, Android and iOS devices – and protect your operating system, files, and thousands of SaaS apps – using Enterprise Mobility + Security.
Network across the globe – virtuallyMeet online across locations. Use HD video and voice meetings, plus transmit content on the device of your choice, with Skype for Business in Office 365.
Store data cost-effectivelyEnable personalized service by accessing, sharing, and updating customer information in real-time with Dynamics 365.
Safeguard against security theftStrengthen identity protection with multi-factor authentication, including fingerprint and PIN, in Windows 10 Pro.
Enable rich, insight-based decision-makingGet automatic security and feature updates delivered from the cloud – without interruptions to users – with Office 365 and Windows 10 Pro.
Deliver familiar, intuitiveGive your team the experiences they want – like touch, ink, or voice – across a range of compelling, productive Windows 10 Pro devices.
Keep data safe and containedShield data from leaks or unsanctioned actions, such as unauthorized printing or forwarding of documents, using Windows Information Protection in Windows 10 Pro plus Rights Management Services in Office 365.
Use the Quick Analysis tool in Excel to easily apply conditional formatting, create charts or tables, or display sparklines next to your data.
In Excel, select the data you want to visualize.
Select Quick Analysis in the lower-right corner of the selected data (or press Ctrl+Q).
Point to the formatting options to preview them, and then select the visualization you want to create.
Quickly predict future values based on historical data
If you have historical time-based data, you can use it to create a forecast. A forecast can help you predict things like future sales, inventory requirements, or consumer trends.
In Excel, select a series of date or time entries and the corresponding values.
Select Data > Forecast > Forecast Sheet.
In the Create Forecast Worksheet window, select the line chart or column chart icon.
In the Forecast End box, select an end date, and then select Create.
Collaborate in real time on an Excel workbook
You and your coworkers can work at the same time on the same Excel workbook. Save time and avoid countless revisions.
Sign in to Office 365, select > OneDrive, and then select the folder where you want to create the workbook. It’s always best to create documents online first.
Select New > Excel workbook, and then select the Book box and rename the file.
Select Share, add the email addresses of those you want to share with, and select Send.When other people open and edit the workbook while you’re working in it, a notification appears at the top and colored flags show where they’re working in the document.
Securely share files with colleagues
Email a link to an Excel workbook stored in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business to ensure that everyone is viewing and working in the same file.
While composing a message in Outlook, select Message > Include > Attach File on the Ribbon.
Select the file you want to share from the list, or select Browse Web Locations and browse to the file. Then select Insert.
If the file is on SharePoint or OneDrive for Business, select Share as OneDrive link in the How do you want to attach this file? box.
Select the attachment arrow, select Change Permissions, and then select the permission level for the message recipients.
Any business with a customer or client base will be holding data about those people. Whether it’s a big CRM system with thousands of files recording everything from date of birth to how many kids someone has and in depth financial information, or a local shop with a Mailchimp list of first name and email address. The GDPR was put in to place by the EU to protect people’s private information and comes into play as of May 2018. It’s essentially the rules that business’ need to follow in regards to the rights of those whose data you have, and the processes incase a breach does occur. The law relates to data belonging to people from within the EU, and applies to Australian businesses that are holding this data. In essence if you are a selling to a global customer base, you need to listen up.
The GDPR rules in a nutshell:
You must make authorities aware of a breach within 72 hours of it occurring, if it is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals”, and notify the clients within 30 days.
Clients can ask about their data. They have a right to know what you’re holding and how it’s being used, and why. If they want a copy of the data then you’re obligated to provide that, at no cost.
Consent for you to collect data can be revoked. At any time, a person can ask you to delete all files and stop using them.
Once your client receives their data, they can pass it onto whomever else they like.
By law, you must have a system that is designed around privacy.
Things to note about GDPR:
If you’re dealing with any businesses in the EU, be particularly mindful of the above. They take GDPR very seriously.
Small businesses in Australia may be exempt from some of the rules. Having said that, it’s still smart to follow them. Cover yourself and your clients.
Data protection isn’t a simple process. Get the help of a professional IT consultant to advise you on what systems to put into place.
The implication of not complying with GDPR rules can be hefty fines at the least. The bottom line here is every business needs top notch security put in place for all their IT systems.
With the workforce being so mobile today we all know that you can get power banks for your mobiles and tablets, but did you know that you can now get a device to charge your laptop on the go as well? We were recently asked by Cygnett to complete some testing of their ChargeUp Pro USB-C 20,000mAh power bank with a number of new laptop devices.
Here are some of the impressive features from this unit:
Size and design
The unit is available in two colours: black and teal. It’s a sleek exterior design and well-rounded edges.
It feels like a quality product with its protective soft touch shell.
The device is able to deliver 45 Watt to a compatible power delivery complaint laptop.
These compatible laptops include MacBook Pro, HP X360, Dell XPS13, Lenovo Yoga and HP Gen5 ProBook just to name a few.
Not just for your laptop
This unit also supports your everyday devices via its 2 USB-A ports. Plus it can charge these devices quickly, with up to 27W for phones.
Get your phone, tablet and laptop all charged before that meeting, road trip or flight.
This unit has been designed to charge up compatible laptops for the person on the go, which we found worked well across a great range of products. It’s a must have for anyone that is planning a holiday, especially with kids. We found that as a result of the unit’s large capacity we were able to get a very impressive amount of phone and tablet recharges from a single cycle. The unit was given a solid workout over a weekend and the team was extremely impressed with its versatility. A perfect Christmas present for the tech junkie or businessperson!
Cybercrime can hit anyone, just ask John Kahibetzer the founder of Twynam Agricultural group, who is on the Forbes list of 50 richest Australians. Unlike may more complex cybercrime attacks that involve hacking, ransomware or spyware, Mr Kahibetzer was the victim of robbery via simple deception. Based on reports of the case, here is a summary of what happened:
Mr Kahlbetzer’s assistant received an email instructing her to transfer $1 million to the bank account of Mr David Aldridge which appeared to have come from the millionaire. Apparently, this was a “reasonably normal” request from the Mr Kahlbetzer to his assistant and as such she immediately made the funds transfer.
In court, Mr Kahlbetzer’s assistant admitted that with hindsight, that the email was not written in “perfect English” but she hadn’t considered this to be an issue as it appeared that Mr Kahlbetzer may have been emailing whilst in a rush.
Perhaps if Mr Kahlbetzer’s assistant had noticed that the email was not written in “perfect english” at the time, she may have also noticed that there was an irregularity in Mr Kahlbetzer’s email address. Mr Aldridge had simply created an email address that was almost identical to Mr Kahlbertzer’s actual email address. He then sent the email to the assistant requesting the funds transfer and the rest is now trying to be resolved in the courts.
This type of cybercrime, also known as ‘whaling’, targets high value individuals such as CEO’s. Using simple, plain text emails with no attachments or links, allows these types of emails to get through traditional antivirus and spam solutions used by most businesses. This is why cybercriminals are increasingly using these types of attacks, added to the fact that the skills required to pull it off are very basic and the potential rewards can be very high.
Cybercrime is a real business threat to every single Australian business and if you are not being proactive then the likelihood that you will be impacted is high. Minimizing your business risk starts with you and your team. Awareness at the front line is key to any security strategy. Creating awareness within your team, as well as ongoing training and testing helps to minimize attacks such as the one suffered by Mr Kahlbertzer. Get in touch to find out just how easy it is to help secure your business.
We spoke to Directors Nick Readett-Bayley and Richard Newling Ward about their award winning architecture firm, BayleyWard.
How did you get into Architecture?
Richard: I was in hospitality for a number of years, and I came to recognise that I just had a passion for creating exciting and engaging spaces for people to enjoy. I suspect you’ll find that most architects have a very different answer, many would likely talk about the built environment, whereas interior designers’ focus tends to be more micro.
Why did you choose to start your own business?
Richard: There comes a point in your life when you want to write your own destiny. To drive your own designs rather than being told what to do whilst working in service of someone else’s ideals.
I get out of bed every day because I know I have the freedom to design things that I’m passionate about, coupled with the personal freedom that working for yourself provides. I also love that creatively, I can build something out of nothing on any given day.
You work hard, celebrate the wins, manage the losses, and it all balances out.
What is the biggest IT related hurdle you have faced?
Nick: Initially, working with start- up budgets means that there are periods where it is necessary to fulfil IT needs in-house – simply to save money. Although this choice did save a small sum of money in the early days, the decisions that were made, and the solutions they provided were only temporary.
Solutions were not tailored for the long-term, and did not cater for the business’ future IT requirements. Therefore, we were not properly set-up – with servers, internal graphics cards, ram, etc – to achieve long-term efficiency, agility and delivery.
How did SSDL help you along the way?
As a new business, we often tried to source and upgrade our hardware and software in-house. We took advice from other businesses and design-related peer groups. Although our choices were good, they were not good enough. SSDL helped us to identify better solutions, that would save time and drive better efficient outcomes in communication, storage and speed.
We now only make our IT decisions after consulting with the professionals at SSDL. SSDL have helped put us on the right IT on track by making our day-to-day IT activities run smoothly, confidently, and efficiently.
What’s a great IT related lesson you’ve learnt so far?
If you seek advice, you will find the answers with the Professionals. Those with real IT experience will make the critical difference for your business.
Finally, we’d love to see one of your favourite designs from 2017?
This is the recently completed “Barney” project on St Georges Road.
We had a chat to Jason Robinson, one of the Directors from clients RBK Advisory.
What does RBK do?
RBK is a new age accounting and advisory firm born out of frustration with the old ways and systems of accounting practices. Below are a few of our differences:
We up front quote the years worth of work
We package the yearly services up and invoice by direct debit monthly
We provide free phone & email support to clients
We focus on the client relationship first – everyone receives the partner’s mobile phone number and the partner is always the first point of contact
We conduct tax planning meetings with all stakeholders are mandatory pre 30 June
Our clients feel comfortable to call and liaise whenever they have a problem as they aren’t “on the clock”. We find this allows us to provide better service. The more we liaise, the more beneficial the relationship will be for the client. There is no ‘bill shock’ for want of a better word. The more organised we are around tax planning, the better the outcome is for the client, it also helps adhere to ATO legislation.
Overall we are a young, technology driven firm who are eager to provide great service to our clients. We understand this is a very personal relationship and we treat it with the respect it demands.
Why did you start RBK?
We’ve all worked at large and small firms alike and found there was a real disconnect between the fee structure & value provided by the majority of accountants. On top of that, many firms were promoting technology as an enabler but were barely using technology themselves (think old servers on site, standard working hours at the work location, inefficient processes that were billed to the client). We also didn’t like punching the time clock in 6 minute blocks and sending out invoices to clients that they weren’t expecting. It drove us to come up with our own model, one that has proven to be very successful having from a few hundred clients initially, to now serving over 2000.
How has IT played a role in your business?
For RBK Advisory, we have a lot of sensitive information. So immediately, security was a huge priority for us. Really early on we moved from Google to Microsoft 365 due to the added security setting and additional power it offered. On top of that, we wanted to be mobile, everything needed to be in the cloud (when we launched the business I was doing tax returns in Bali by the pool).
How has SSDL helped with your business?
We grew and we grew fast. We needed to be able to scale. In the past 12 months, we have added more than 1 new team member per month. This has meant thousands of dollars invested in new hardware, however we’ve barely noticed the software side of things. We up our subscriptions with each new team member, their devices are easily setup and added to our IT system and before we know it the new team member is ready to fire! SSDL advised us from day one on the software and systems we had to have in place to allow that growth to happen and without SSDL investing that time and energy into learning what our plans and ambitions were, I don’t think it would have gone as smoothly, so we have them to thank for that.
Finally, favourite app right now and why?
It’s so hard to pick just one so I’ll give you my categories:
Accounting – Xero (we live our lives on this and it connects us to our clients crucial financial information in real time)
Bookkeeping – Hubdoc (it connects us to our client’s financials documents through an easy to use app, receipts, bank statements, invoices etc.)
Personally – Trello (task management, to do lists, reminders and so much more)