How the landscape for remote working will never be the same again

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The current challenges being faced by all businesses regarding the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are unprecedented in our history.
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10 top tips for working from home

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Working from home can at times be compared to Marmite - you either love it or hate it. You have people that regularly work from home and find themselves far more efficient and productive doing so, and then you have people that are generally office-based and fear the loss of the structure of the day and the social interaction. 

With the majority of office workers now being asked to work from home, we've spoken to some of our regular home workers to get their 10 top tips for working from home, and how to get the most out of it and still feel connected to the wider team.

1. Do have a good working environment

Sitting up in bed or on the sofa sounds nice, but your back won't thank you as the day goes on. You should try to create a suitable working environment where you can sit up properly and have your laptop at the correct working height. Whether it's sat at the kitchen table or in your study, try and create an area clear of clutter. Why not try re-arranging some of your house plants to make your 'office' more inviting?

2. Do make healthy choices  

Stay hydrated - drink water and don't overdo it on the caffeine! Why not keep some fruit or healthy snacks nearby to reduce the temptation of biscuits, chocolates and crisps?  You'll thank yourself for it at the end of the day!

3. Do use video, it's good for all parties

Much of communication is non-verbal. Seeing your colleagues, clients or suppliers on video encourages interaction and engagement. But don't forget, everybody else can see you – make sure you're dressed appropriately and you've not just got out of the shower!

4. Do remember you can blur your background when on video calls

Using Microsoft Teams? You can blur your background on video calls, meaning that the pile of your kids' toys in the corner won't be visible. Handy right!? If you're using Zoom, there is a great feature that allows you to create a 'virtual background' – video call while on the moon, anyone?

5. Do remain focused and productive

Don't be tempted to start that new season on Netflix; plan your activities for the day in small sprints with what you want to achieve and deliver on it. This will help get you into a working rhythm and give you a sense of achievement.

6. Do schedule in 'virtual coffee breaks'

Why not schedule 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon to have a short social period with your team? You can all jump on a video call while you recharge your batteries with caffeine and talk about anything but work. Being able to keep some of the social side has a lot of benefits for all involved.

7. Do stay active and get away from your laptop

It's important that you look after your physical and mental health while working from home. Take the dog for a walk, or go for a run, at lunch. Take some scheduled breaks to do something different to help stay active and let your mind reset.

8. Do have some background noise if it helps you focus

If you're the sort of person that finds sitting in silence mind-numbingly boring, why not turn on the radio? Keep the volume low so you can still focus on your tasks and not get distracted. Just like in the office, if you find yourself drifting away from work due to the noise, make sure you refocus yourself.

9. Do have a routine

It's easy to slip into a 'lazy' way of working, potentially even be tempted to stay in your dressing gown all day, but it's important to still have a routine and set your mind up for the day. Try to keep the routine you had when going into the office - wake up, shower, have breakfast - you'll feel far more ready to tackle the day ahead.

And finally, the one that many people dread…

10. Don't worry about the kids/pets coming into the room

Cat jumped up on your keyboard? Your kid asking if they can have some crisps? We're all human and these things happen. Embrace them if they happen to you, and help others feel comfortable when it happens to them - everybody understands the situation that we find ourselves in. We'll all have stories to tell about 'those' moments in the coming weeks!

Now, most of these points will be stating the obvious for those of us that work from home on a regular basis. The challenges that we will all face in the coming weeks are some of the common challenges faced by regular home workers. Once this all dies down, and we are all able to return to the office environment, why not reach out to your colleagues that work from home to make sure they feel part of the team?

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How resiliency is key in the current climate, including our Education system.

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Over the last week, school leaders have risen to the challenges of the current crisis.It is a reminder of the responsiveness and resilience of our education system, and for those that are living on another planet (or wish they were at the moment!), the government is closing schools as of today to the vast majority of students. Children of key (critical) workers are still able to attend to ensure medical and transport staff can remain at work, but what does this mean for the other students?
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Coronavirus Lockdown: The Digital Workspace in action

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With the current global situation, the past week has shown the importance of being able to create the Digital Workspace to provide flexible working solutions for your workforce. 

I decided to write a blog around how Microsoft's Teams, a Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) solution, has enabled my productivity to not slip despite the whole of my team now having to work from home thanks to Coronavirus.

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AI and Big Data

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In 2019, we worked with a customer who owns and operates a mine in Mozambique to help them identify their key business objectives and advise them on how to succeed on these. Throughout our discussions with them, we defined the below key objectives:

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How your organisation can be more flexible

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In today's competitive environment, being flexible is a fundamental part of any business strategy to survive. To be flexible, organisations must make the necessary changes needed to respond effectively to the changing market. One simple way organisations can increase their flexibility is by using the innovative technology solutions and services that are available.

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How technology enables organisations to be more agile

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Although 'agile' has become a hype word, it is an important concept that organisations should strive to achieve in a world of continuous change and uncertainty. Being agile enables organisations to be more adaptive and reactive to the changing market, allowing them to respond quickly to customers' demands to keep a competitive edge.
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Life Sciences & Technology - Part 2: Is DX at the top of Life Science organisations’ agenda?

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The short answer is yes - thousands of businesses are grappling with DX, however most do not consider themselves to be completely 'transformed' yet. Many of the largest Pharma organisations have launched initiatives and created entire departments focused on innovation, and are well on their way to operating in the same way an organisation which has completed its DX journey so far, is.

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Life Sciences & Technology - Part 1: What Can Life Science Organisations Learn From Digital Transformations in Other Industries

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In our offices, businesses, colleges and homes, barriers exist between people that hinder free and easy communication. Physics undergraduates rarely mix with the Philosophy students, our accounts teams tend not to lunch with our account managers, and I almost never speak to the lady who lives in the flat below mine. It's a natural result of living, working and studying in cities with millions of strangers.

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5 key considerations for Legal organisations planning Digital Transformation

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The ramifications of Digital Transformation (DX) go far beyond technology. As George Westerman (author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation) writes, DX "marks a radical rethinking of how an organisation uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change Business performance." Any successful Transformation project will make a significant impact on an organisation's people, activity, process and culture - and all of these areas must be considered when planning a Transformation project.
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