June 2021: Lifting of lockdown restrictions postponed
Despite the disappointing news that the lifting of the June 21 lockdown restrictions has been postponed, we are seeing more and more staff returning to their offices to work. However, it seems that home working will not become a thing of the past as the pandemic wanes. The term that we feel most accurately describes what is going to happen as a result of the last eighteen months is 'hybrid work arrangements' whereby companies adopt a 'hybrid workplace model' (to use another buzz phrase!). A study produced by Gartner stated that that more than 1.1 billion people from around the world worked from home or a remote location last year. To put this into perspective, it needs to be compared to the 350 million who did the same in 2019. In the UK, a similar study from BCG showed that out of 2,000 UK employees who worked remotely during the pandemic, 67% want to continue with some arrangement whereby they are able to divide their time between being at the office and home.
As an indicator of how this trend is seen as a real gamechanger, executives at some at some of the world's biggest technology firms have left current positions and joined start-ups that are focused on building collaboration and communications tools that will hope to be at the forefront of the coming hybrid work arrangements boom. Despite all the terrible things that the pandemic has wrought, we believe hybrid workplace models can be seen as a positive. We will be keeping our eye on things, so watch this space!
May 2021: Looking forwards to a new kind of working
After a year of home and remote working many of our clients have reported to us they will continue with this practice after lockdown has fully ended. As we anticipated, the response of their staff to home working has been mixed. Some people love not having to commute into work each day, taking breaks when needed rather than to a fixed schedule, dashing off to collect the kids from school or working a little longer if they need to. Staff who have said they don't like working from home have cited the lack of social contact with others as their main reason for this.
As someone who has worked from home a couple of days each week for years, I firmly put myself in the first category of people who love to work from home! Many of our clients are now permanently giving their staff the option of whether they want to work from home or not, and a few have said they will consider downsizing their office as a result of this. When we had to get our client's staff quickly setup for home working in March 2020, this was mainly achieved by creating VPN connections and configuring PCs for remote desktop connections. We also supplied laptop computers to connect from or configured computers at home for this.
However, some of our clients decided to go the route of cloud desktops, which give staff a desktop computer experience with all the apps and files they need in the cloud. This has the advantage of being fully maintained by us (the cloud desktops are rented to the client, so we maintain, patch, configure and update them) and it reduces capital expenditure costs. In fact, it turns the capital expenditure of buying PCs into an operating cost, which is tax advantageous too.
March 2020: Coronavirus & working from home
Itelica has been helping our clients to work remotely for 17 years. As a result, we are the right company to get your business home working as rapidly as possible, during the Coronavirus pandemic. We can get your staff set up and working from home very quickly and with minimal cost or disruption. We are able to do this because, more often than not, we can adapt your existing infrastructure and hardware to provide your staff with the remote access to your network and corporate resources they need. We have been doing this for 17 years, so we know exactly what it entails.
In the unlikely event you do need additional hardware, we can supply this quickly and cost effectively.
By enabling your staff to connect directly to their office PCs over the internet, they can continue to perform their tasks with no loss of teamwork, communication or collaboration whatsoever. By combining this with VoIP telephony, we can provide remote workers with seamless access to your internal phone system and teleconferencing / video conferencing, enhancing their ability to work effectively while not having to attend the office or meetings.
January 2020: Upgrading to Windows 10
On 14 January 2020 Windows 7 is officially reaching End of Life. End of Life means Microsoft will no longer issue bug-fixes, security patches or new functionality. There is nothing stopping you from continuing to use Windows 7 after its End of Life, but you should be aware of the following:
You will not notice any difference in how computers running Windows 7 function immediately after 14 January 2020. However, as time passes, Windows 7 computers will become more susceptible to malware attacks. If you're running a good Antivirus package this risk will be mitigated to a degree, as Antivirus packages are a first line of defence against malware, but the risk will still increase.
In the longer term, as various applications are updated to work with the latest version of Windows 10, you will find an increasing number of applications will no longer work with Windows 7. This is not something you will need to be concerned with in the first 12 months after Windows 7 End of Life, however.
Because of the above, it is important to start planning the upgrade of all computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10 in the coming months. Itelica can advise you on this as well as assisting you with the upgrade itself. This is something Itelica has been doing for its clients. The first thing to do is to establish how many computers you have that are running Windows 7. To do this:
Press and hold down the Windows key (this is the key bottom left of your keyboard with a Windows symbol) and then simultaneously press the R key. When the run box opens, type winver into it and then press the enter key. A box will appear showing the version.
We upgrade Windows 7 PCs to Windows 10 Professional for a fixed cost of £99.00 for licence key only or £185.00 for license key and media.
We guarantee to fully backup and restore your data and email. We will also restore your settings and customisations as much as possible when migrating between operating systems.