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Working from Home - Blue Frontier Style

Date Monday, 18 May 2020 Wiktoria Niedbala , In: Company News

Complying with the governmental guidelines, we have found ourselves working from home over the last few months to limit staff exposure and comply with social distancing requirements.

Blue Frontier strongly believes that during these challenging times, communication and collaboration are critical, which is why we have made a combined effort to keep our teams connected and in touch with one another via the wonderful world of the web. As a digital agency, we are well prepared to work from home and continue to support our clients during these challenging times. We have seen first hand the effect that the lockdown is having on businesses and the shift towards selling and communicating online. It has been rewarding to be in a position to be able to help other businesses stabilise and even grow their businesses online to adjust to the current climate and consumer behaviour. 

We are here to support all kinds of businesses and organisations - private or public sector, large or small, UK based or overseas - so that they can continue to operate and deliver their services or products as effectively as possible.

With the majority of the nation housebound over the last few months, more people have been turning to digital solutions - both consumers and suppliers. With our range of service offerings and expertise, we have been able to tailor solutions and provide the services that we advise are the most beneficial at the current time. This has meant adapting marketing strategies based on data and user behavior, optimising websites and apps to improve user experience and cater for the online market, as well as setting up the necessary infrastructure to enable companies and workforces to successfully work from home. 

 

Security

Thanks to our existing set-up and strict security procedures, we can continue to operate as normal whilst working from home. Data protection is imperative to our business and we take great pride in our ISO accreditations and continued efforts to meet all of the requirements for each certification. This includes extremely strict procedures around data protection and quality assurance, so our clients' can rest assured that we always prioritise security. 

Having a well-established and implemented ISO 27001 management system has allowed Blue Frontier to transition smoothly and safely into remote working.

James Fry On Working From Home

“The benefits of having this in place have been widespread; extending from risk assessment and planning, resulting in our having identified the risks around COVID-19 in early February, and our subsequent planning for major interruptions to business since then, through to the implementation of aspects of our Business Continuity Plan providing for a smooth and relatively pain-free transition into 99% home working while preserving the security and integrity of ours and our customers' data.”

- Marc Whittingham

Many companies were faced with the decision of sending their employees to work from home for the very first time. During these stressful times, the added pressures of working from home and the required self-discipline can be a challenge in itself, with each individual working from a different environment with varying contributing factors i.e. internet suppliers, bandwith, work stations, etc. 

Our technical support team is here to help your business with any issues it encounters. Below, we’ve outlined just a few tips for companies that are still operating remotely.

  • Use a VPN. We advise using a VPN to shield your network traffic and activity from malicious observation. This offers protection against attackers who specialise in infiltrating poorly protected home networks.
  • Only use company computers. Private computers can lack the required security measures and therefore can compromise data that should remain confidential.
  • Setting up company chats. It's critical that workforces aren't left isolated which is why communication is key. Online chats are a great way to keep teams connected, but it's important to choose platforms carefully and ensure that confidential information such as passwords, personal data, and financial information isn't shared without control or security.
  • Hosting online meetings. If you are instigating meetings online then it's important to carefully consider the platform that you are using and the security measures it has in place. 
  • Hard disk encryption. Activating your hard disk encryption could help protect against the loss of data in the event of theft.

If you would like to discuss how you can optimise the security of your company's working from home set-up, please do get in touch - we'd be happy to help.

 

Communication

Whilst the lockdown is a physical restriction, the digital world is as active and busy as ever. We are accustomed to communicating over Skype, Slack, and other online platforms, and holding virtual meetings as we have regularly done so between our offices, located in different cities. However, we no longer see our typical vibrant office environment in the background during our Skype calls, and instead, we can admire and learn more about our colleagues' choice of home decor. 

Since lockdown began, we have created a companywide group chat where we are able to share our working from home stories as well as photos of our four-legged companions. This has not only been beneficial from a corporate perspective, with teams regularly communicating and sharing updates, but it has also been important for maintaining the social element of work. Although it's not the same as seeing each other at the coffee station in the morning, catching up over a game of pool at lunch, or heading to the brewery after work, it is still keeping everyone connected and lifting spirits.            

 

Here are some tips for working from home from a couple of our employees:

I have to admit that I do like working as part of a team so working by myself is not something I would like to do long term. My tip for working from home would be to have a routine… get up, exercise, shower and whatever else you do to get ready as if you were going to work, it makes it a bit easier. Another thing I have started doing is having a podcast on in the background so that people are chatting, as there would be in the office.” Dave Davies

Get out and get some fresh air when you can, whether that is before you start your day, or on your lunch!”- James Roberts

"Stay in touch with your team, and not just about work! Ask about their weekends, their home projects, share photos of your best bakes and DIY projects (good and bad), and keep that team spirit alive." - Sammy-Jo Wilsher

 

Quiz Night

To maintain our team spirit, we have organised several quiz nights. With the majority of our workforce now working from home, we wanted to make sure that everyone stays motivated and that there is still a social aspect to enjoy.

We have hosted the quizzes online over a closed video chat, with the whole of Blue Frontier invited, as well as friends and family at shared addresses. We thought that this would be a great way to hold social events in-line with the government’s guidelines. While we miss seeing each other in person, adapting by trying new ways of communication has been a new and rewarding process.

Amongst some general knowledge rounds, there was a picture round where we had to identify our colleagues from childhood photos. Whilst the quiz was mainly for fun, there was, of course, a competitive edge!

Our winners were:

  1. The Frys - James and his family
  2. The Harringtons - Luke and his family
  3. Jamie and Jenn

Who knows, now we might consider running another one open for the public to join.

 

New Employees

We’ve had quite a few new employees join us during these strange times and we have made it our priority to replicate our welcome and training process in a way that is as close to normal as possible. We are very happy to have them on-board and are very impressed with how quickly they have integrated with the rest of the team, as well as their willingness to adapt to unusual circumstances.

“I joined on the 6th of April and it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind so far. Loads to take in but it’s all very interesting. Everyone has been so welcoming and accommodating and it’s nice to feel like someone who can make a difference for the benefit of the whole business! It's an unusual circumstance to be starting a new role remotely but I’d like to shout out to everyone who worked to make it a smooth transition and start for me, and even deliver my kit to my front door (of course following social distancing guidelines)!”

- James Worville

James Fry On Working From Home

“The speed and alacrity with which our workforce has transitioned to working from home has been extraordinary. This is an unbelievably challenging time, and it is asking a lot of people to alter their working arrangements while dealing with such significant and unprecedented family and social pressures, but our team has been amazing in response, everyone has been flexible, enthusiastic and supportive, of each other and of the company. It is true that the greatest assets of any business are its people, and at times like this, that is truer and more evident than ever – it is very humbling indeed, I want to thank them all.”

- James Fry

Our experience proves that with flexibility, consideration, and team effort, we can make working from home a success. That being said, we can’t wait to get back together and work in our lovely offices again!

Wiktoria Niedbala

Wiktoria Niedbala

Digital Marketing Executive

Wiktoria lives to create, she is a marketing postgraduate who loves social media and content creation. Customer satisfaction and driving engagement is at the heart of her work. She has worked with different clients including fintechs, affiliate marketing agencies and NGOs for over 3 years to grow their brands, as well as provide them with original and creative content. Since joining Blue Frontier, Tori has focused on content creation and social media marketing.

  • Blue Frontier are accredited with Cyber Essentials Plus
  • Blue Frontier are a Silver Microsoft Partner
  • Blue Frontier is a Google Partner
  • Blue Frontier is a G-Cloud Supplier
  • ISO 27001 ISO 27001
  • ISO 9001 ISO 9001
  • ISO 13485 ISO 13485
  • ISO 14001 ISO 14001