What will IT for charities look like as lockdown eases?
When the sudden shift to remote working happened, charities had to react fast to enormous changes to their way of working, almost overnight. If you haven’t already, have a look at some examples of good practice on our ‘IT for Charities – Remote Working in Lockdown’ blog.
Now, as the lockdown eases, many charities and non-profit organisations are planning what their new way of working will look like. Spoiler Alert; it won’t be back to business as usual. Here are a few points to consider;
Digital Transformation and much more
Like it or not, most charities will have moved forward at a fast pace on their Digital Transformation journeys. Use this once-in-a-lifetime event to seek feedback on what staff like about the new tools they have used, and what parts of their work they struggled with remotely. This is gold dust and can feed directly into your next – or your first! – Charity ICT Strategy.
Furloughed staff learning the new normal when it comes to IT
Most staff that have been furloughed will have developed the skills to use your organisations’ remote access tools by now. Suddenly Teams and Zoom are familiar to everyone.
Running a few drop in clinics for staff returning to work is time well spent, an it needn’t be in the office. They need to be brought up to speed on how departments now use these tools day to day, and have a forum to seek help as they get used to them.
The right stakeholders = The right outcome
Leadership teams across all departments need to be involved in the return to work planning, and that should include IT – even if it’s provided by a third party / outsourced service provider, bring them in early to your operational planning so they have the chance to suggest how technology can help.
Likewise, take this chance to refresh your charity IT policies, such as acceptable usages, IT Security and Bring Your Own Device. As a charity IT specialist, Smartdesc has templates to share if you don’t have anything in place right now.
Use the Tech to talk about the Tech!
How are you going to communicate your lockdown easing plans? By now people are quite used to webinars and group calls. Did you know Microsoft Teams includes the ability to hold webinars? They are called Teams Live Events, and they can be recorded too.
Set up a Teams channel, or Slack if you use that, as a forum for people to post questions or comment. Other virtual drop in areas such as ‘The Water Cooler’ give individuals a place to chat through their ideas and any concerns about the lockdown easing with each other too.
Social Distancing – how can technology support the ‘new way of working’
The lockdown easing plan will include answers to many questions, including who will be returning to work first. These staff will be championing the new way of working. There are many practical aspects that need to be considered across all areas of the office building, one-way traffic, a safe system for using facilities and many others. How technology support users as much as possible is a crucial part of ensuring everything runs smoothly. The following are just some of the many considerations;
- Training – ensuring that those returning to work first have been briefed on what their new way of working will look like, trying to reduce the anxiety for many and explaining which technologies and tools will be used going forward.
- Hot Desking – due to space considerations at many charities, allocated desks are likely to be another thing of the past; instead flexible desks that are set at least 2 metres apart and booked for the day, ideally with screening between them, will be a control mechanism. Obviously, there will need to be diligent daily cleaning organised. The desk phone will need to spend some time in a cupboard (or have it cleaned every day) – mobiles being preferred.
- Meeting Rooms – with the obvious need for social distancing and well-ventilated spaces, many people in a meeting room may not work, for now. Can this space be used to safely seat another 1 or 2 flexible desks?
Nobody said this would be easy
Ensuring a successful transition back to the office in a measured and safe way is going to be a challenge, for sure. There will be some creative thinking around how improvements can be made on low budgets.
Smartdesc is already working with several charity and non-profit organisations to support them to adapt to the changing environment and continue with successful agile working where possible.
Contact us to chat through any questions you may have or if you would like any charity IT policy templates relating to the IT Infrastructure that should be in place for the ‘new way of working’.
Author; Adam Monks, Smartdesc Founder
Smartdesc specialise in Charity IT and are offering any charities or non-profit organisations time with one of our highly experienced, charity focussed, Virtual IT Directors – free of charge during this time. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have or help guide organisations on the right path.
To get in contact, email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Smartdesc is an NCVO Trusted Supplier and ACEVO Premium Partner.
The Charity Digital Skills Report – read here.