Advice When Working Remotely

I had expected to be writing an article this week about problem debt for the older generation. While this is still an important issue, it feels like we should come back to it, with everything else that’s going on at the moment. Instead, I’m going to write about some of the sensible solutions that it feels like we can take as businesses to try to deal with the worst impact of what’s going on.

We’re lucky at Estatesearch – as a tech company, we have always been setup to work remotely, so lockdown isn’t technically difficult for us (although I’ve been doing the Joe Wicks PE lessons with my daughter, and if Coronavirus doesn’t get me, that might do…), but for so many businesses coping without face-to-face interaction with customers is tricky. Helping to manage the affairs of vulnerable people and bereaved families, as many people reading this do so brilliantly, is nigh on impossible without some face-to-face interaction, but hopefully there are some things we can do to make it a bit easier. As such, I’ve collated some ideas here that I hope might help.

Telephone and video interaction

Unthinkable perhaps even 10 years ago, almost all of us have the capability to video conference on our smart phones. But for older and more vulnerable people, these may be difficult to work. My mother is 69 and still managed to spend at least half of her call with my daughter two days ago with the camera switched off or her finger over the camera! (She’ll kill me if she reads this.)

There are other solutions which may offer lower technical resistance to people who may find an iPhone hard to work. One such technology which the charity of which I’m a trustee, Re-engage (plug! plug!), was looking at was kreydel.com Many of these technologies are good ideas more generally, because a lot of people in our society are unable to get out of the house, and a large number have no one to see, even if they could travel. Long after we’ve got the measure of Coronavirus, we’ll have the problem of loneliness to contend with. A picture on a screen is no substitute for a hug and a cuppa, but for the time being, it’s an awful lot better than nothing.

Dealing with the post

Royal Mail has just put up the cost of their business mail re-direction (what a time to do that!) But lots of interactions still take place by post. Don’t forget to send your post to an address of someone who can be trusted to open it and disburse it properly. Failing that – now could be the time to look at a mail scanning service (or trying to get more of your stakeholders to use email)?

IT Security

It’s not a subject that’s going to win you friends at dinner parties. So, it’s good news that you aren’t going to any for a while! But fraudsters are working out how to make money from you and your clients through this process. And just because there’s an actual medical virus out there doesn’t mean that there aren’t people trying to put viruses into your phone and computer. Protect yourself – make sure your anti-virus software is up to date. Then, look at Multi Factor Authentication for your email and other important accounts, and look at encryption and DMarc for your email.

Client onboarding technology

It’s possible to ID people remotely now. If you’ve ever opened an account with the likes of Monzo or Revolut, you’ve probably had your socks knocked off just as I did. You don’t have to run a digital bank to use this new tech though – the likes of ThirdFort can help you with this too. You’ll all know Karen Babington – why not save her from frustrated-social-butterfly-induced-madness and give her a call to talk about it?

Paying it forward

One idea I saw on Trevor Worth’s Linkedin earlier today made me really think – in times when cash is short, we should think carefully about in what order we pay our stakeholders. Many small businesses and self- employed people are hand-to-mouth at the best of times. Perhaps we should try to prioritise helping the most vulnerable businesses in our ecosystem too?

Digital fact finding

And saving the best for last, since we can’t get out to look through clients’ paperwork, why not do what you can whilst you’re waiting? By all means, give me a call to talk about the wealth of information we can help you to find out about your clients without you having to even leave your new home office? You might even save me from having to do another PE lesson…

Take care of each other.

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