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How to choose the right computer equipment for your business to increase your productivity and efficiency without it costing the earth.

Business software helps you complete a range of tasks. Choose the right software, provide support and train your staff with our introduction.

It is highly likely that you depend on the internet for some aspects of your business. Find out how you can use the internet more effectively.

Good communication with customers, partners and suppliers is vital for business success. This summary explores business communication methods.

How would you cope if your IT system failed or was breached? We cover the main IT security issues and how to protect against them.

Good IT management can help you choose, use and implement IT. Our overview helps you manage IT in a way that maximises the return on your investment.

IT support is vital if you rely on your IT system. But how can you set up an effective safety net in case things go wrong? We explore the options.

Getting the right IT is just the first step. Appropriate training, policies and working practices can help you maximise return on your IT investment.

Introducing homeworking - checklist

More and more employees are working flexibly or from home - many for the first time due to the Coronavirus outbreak. This checklist explains how to successfully and legally implement homeworking.

  • Plan a pilot scheme. Consider offering selected employees the option of homeworking, or introduce part-time homeworking.
  • Identify jobs which are suitable for full or partial homeworking: consider how much the employee needs to be in the company's premises.
  • Confirm that the work can be carried out without creating a nuisance for neighbours or requiring planning permission.
  • Consider whether individuals have the right attitude and skills - for example, time-management, self-motivation and communication skills.
  • Organise any training required. Plan how you will involve the homeworker in future training and development activities.
  • Identify the requirements for a home office such as a reasonable working environment, a laptop or tablet computer, a smartphone - for occasions when the employee is out and about - and office furniture.
  • Plan the employee's communications: how will email and the internet be used? Who will arrange and pay for a broadband connection? How will phone calls and emails be re-routed? Will you use instant messaging services and collaboration tools to facilitate communication and team working between you and the employee?
  • Arrange access to the software, files and data that the employee needs to work effectively. Will the employee have access to your server via a virtual private network? Or, will the employee use cloud-based software and services?
  • Consider any security issues - for example, protecting valuable equipment, data and confidential information.
  • Arrange any additional insurance required. Check whether your existing business policy covers 'any place of business'.
  • Carry out a risk assessment. Identify the potential risks and who could be affected, take steps to minimise or remove the risks and record your findings.
  • Provide guidance on health and safety - for example, seating and furniture layout, lighting and testing of electrical equipment.
  • Advise homeworkers to ensure that the home office retains some residential use (eg as a spare bedroom) to avoid business rates and tax problems.
  • Agree any modifications to employment contracts - for example, covering working hours, responsibilities for equipment, and additional expenses.
  • Agree clear performance targets and standards which you can use as the basis for managing the homeworker.
  • Keep in touch on a daily basis, and arrange regular face-to-face meetings.

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