Catch up with our remote working content - all condensed into one place
Coronavirus has reemphasised the importance of remote working. Remote and flexible working practices, noted for their attractiveness to new employees, have now come to the fore as a means to carrying on business as usual. For charity digital leaders who may have missed our earlier articles, we round up some of the best recommendations for remote working.
Charity Digital CEO Jonathan Chevallier; Phil Anthony, co-Founder of CoopSys and Kate White, Manager at Digital support charity Superhighways, discussed ways charities can get staff started with remote working on the Charity Digital Podcast.
Phil Anthony’s advice: “I’d start with making sure they’ve got email on their phone, I’d take that as a given but it’s not a given for everyone. I’d look at installing other apps like WhatsApp as it’s great. Most of the charities we deal with have Office 365. If you have it you should be able to use it everywhere. I’d get that rolled out.”
Office 365, the cloud-based system and application platform has helped ease the transition to remote working. For Lhasa Ltd, a health sciences charity, the digital transformation enabled staff to work from any device. Microsoft Teams, offering built in chat, videoconferencing, and calendar organisation is a real advantage in connecting employees working outside the office.
For charity digital leaders preparing for a sustained amount of time working from home, Kate White emphasises understanding – funders have already acknowledged the need to be flexible, particularly if grants need to be redirected towards investment in new working practices.
Remote working tools have exploded into professional consciousness as ways to keep operations going. For charity digital leaders, we have featured tools for nearly every function. Looking at the options, Slack and Microsoft Teams can help staff keep in touch and send files; Dropbox and Google Drive make files cloud-accessible; Trello, Asana, Zoho and Monday can keep projects on track; and Salesforce and Donorfy can help marketing and communications teams monitor donors.
Zoe Amar, Charity Digital Trustee and digital and social media guru, says that becoming a digital leader can happen overnight. Surveying major charities, she reports that digital leaders have been honest, positive, and open to opportunities for change. In embracing the new digital, she writes: “The accelerated digital evolution of their charities may feel uncomfortable. We need to recognise this and press ahead. If we can weather the storm as a sector and embrace digital to get us through it we could emerge stronger, more relevant and in a better position to make a difference.”
Now that many charities are well on their journey towards remote working and digital transformation, many are concerned about the cost of investment. Software providers are cognizant to the sudden need for services, and many, including Dropbox and Asana have offered free licensing to charities.
Special guest contributor Matt Haworth from Reason Digital discusses strategic ways to use tech tools to keep operations going. Focusing on free tools, he emphasises that charity size isn’t an issue – smaller charities can use the same tools to keep fundraising, communications, and project management up and running.
Sadly, during this vulnerable period, there are still hackers with malicious intents. Enterprise risk can be reduced at no cost, by ensuring that staff only have access to exactly what they need to keep going. For system security, charity digital leaders can also investigate opportunities to deploy VPN networks, which automatically encrypts data when connecting to the main charity server. Network Access Control Systems can also ensure security by verifying the identity of staff logging on.
For charities not looking to overhaul entire systems, cyber security can be achieved through education and smaller tech adjustments. In a working from home environment, being aware of phishing, malware, and email scams can already reduce risk. Further, securing home routers, computer passwords and updating applications to the most recent versions can prevent cyber attacks.
Finally, we recommend keeping in touch – this month, we are offering advice on cyber security, and essential tips on how to protect charity systems. Stay up to date and safe by checking out our ongoing publications.