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Working Remotely from Home — Business Check List

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health and economic crisis which has had a significant impact on UK businesses. While the government’s social isolation rules have slowed the spread of the virus, they have also forced businesses to shut down or to completely change the way they operate.

Many businesses have asked their employees to work from home until the risk of COVID-19 is over. Fortunately, there are many telecommunications tools which make working from home simple.

In this guide, we are going to share a checklist which highlights the most useful telecommunications tools for remote work. These tools will help you maintain a highly productive and profitable business throughout the COVID-19 shutdown.

Broadband
Nearly all work-at-home employees will require Internet access to complete their duties. In most cases, they will already have a home Internet connection installed. However, you will need to consider several factors before letting an employee use an existing home Internet connection for remote work:

• Stability
Is the employees Internet connection always available or are there periods off instability? If a team member regularly experiences Internet drop outs or lag, it may interfere with their ability to be productive while working from home.
• Speed
If your business is working with large files like spreadsheets, videos, or databases, slow Internet connection speed may be an issue. The average home connection may not have sufficient bandwidth available for the kind of work your business does.
• Data Use
Home connections in the UK often have a limited amount of data use available. This can also be an issue if your business is working with large files.
• Security
When employees use their home computer and Internet access, they may not have the same level of security available as they would while at work. There could be issues with their WIFI encryption settings, software, antivirus solution, router login, and so on.

The best solution for dealing with these issues is to set up separate business broadband connections for critical employees. This will ensure they have the high-quality Internet access needed to work productively and with a high level of security.

Another option is to give employees a dedicated mobile wifi 4G device for work purposes. This device will operate separately from their home connection — giving them the speed, stability, and security they require.

VoIP Telecoms
Voice Over IP (VoIP) is a useful technology which can improve the accessibility, affordability, quality, and portability of voice communications. VoIP is also easily extensible, which means you can extend your work VoIP system to include employees currently working from home.

Businesses can share all aspects of their office-based VoIP system with workers at home, including call handling and directory services. When employees use a VoIP system remotely, they will have access to all of the functionality available on their work phone.

Telephone Numbers
If your customers need to contact employees who are working from home, you should obtain additional non-geographic phone numbers. This will help employees can keep their personal and business calls separate. It also ensures that your business maintains a professional appearance, with a limited number of contact points.

Another excellent option at this time is to purchase 0800 free to call phone numbers. They can help your business generate additional sales inquiries, which is particularly important during the current economic downturn.

Conference/video calls/meeting
If your business relies upon regular meetings between employees, an online conferencing/meeting tool will be useful. There are several options available, with the most popular being the video conferencing platform Zoom. Other great options include GoToMeeting, TeamViewer, and Adobe Connect.

Video calling technology can also be useful for meetings between staff members. There are many options for one-on-one and small-group video calls including Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Talky.

Text message marketing
Text messages are a useful way to communicate simple messages with your employees and customers. They can be used for many purposes including:

• Reminding remote employees about online meetings
• Sharing project responsibilities with remote team members
• Sharing links to online resources
• Providing COVID-19 updates
• Soliciting employee feedback
• Scheduling work shifts
• Quick reminders

Text message are less intrusive than phone calls and very “to the point” — which makes them the perfect option when communicating with employees who are working at home.

How Lascom Solutions Can Help
Lascom Solutions is one of the UK’s leading independent telecommunications providers. We provide a wide range of innovative telecommunications solutions for businesses including VoIP, broadband, business mobiles, SMS text message marketing, and leased lines. Contact our friendly team today on 08444 127 009 to learn how we can help your business succeed during this pandemic.

 

Smartphone Insurance for Your New iPhone or iPad

It happens in an instant, your walking down the street listening to music on your iPhone or iPad when you stumble and drop it. Your stomach sinks as you see your extremely expensive phone flying through the air before landing on concrete, smashing the screen.

 

Unfortunately, it is very easy to damage fragile electronic devices like iPhones and iPads in this way. They can be destroyed instantly if they are dropped onto a hard surface or exposed to liquid. Additionally, iPads and iPhones are frequently targeted by criminals because of their high value, with thousands of devices being stolen each year in the UK.

 

The limited warranty provided by Apple doesn’t cover breakdown outside the warranty period, accidental damage, loss, or theft. This means that your expensive electronic device is vulnerable and could be lost or destroyed at any moment.

 

Fortunately, it is possible to purchase insurance for smartphones and tablets. This can provide protection against theft, loss, accidental damage, and breakdown outside of the warranty period. Here is some more information about how smartphone and tablet insurance works, and the main benefits of purchasing this type of insurance.

 

What is Smartphone and Tablet Insurance?

Smartphone and Tablet Insurance is similar to other forms of property insurance. You pay an insurance company a monthly or annual premium to cover one or more smartphone or tablet devices.

 

If one of your devices is stolen, lost, damaged, or breaks down (outside of warranty period), you can lodge a claim and the insurance company will immediately repair or replace your device. The scope of protection goes beyond warranty or guarantee provided by Apple or the company you originally bought the device from.

 

Most mobile and tablet insurance policies will cover any accidental damage, theft, breakdown, or loss of your phone. However, it is possible to purchase plans which only cover specific types of incidents. So, if you are only concerned about your device being stolen, you can obtain coverage for theft alone.

 

In most cases, you will need to pay a small “deductible” when making a claim. The deductible is the amount of money you will pay in an insurance claim before the insurance company makes a contribution. The size of an insurance deductible will vary based between different plans.

 

Benefits of Smartphone and Tablet Insurance

There are several benefits obtained by purchasing smartphone and tablet Insurance, including:

#1 – It can save you a lot of money

iPhones and iPads seem to go up in price every single year, with the most expensive devices now costing well over £1,000. This is a lot of money to lose if your device is broken, lost, or stolen.

 

Smartphone and tablet insurance will reimburse you or pay for repairs if something happens to your device. The only cost you may have to pay is a deductible, the size of which varies based on the type of insurance plan you are on. The savings can be huge, particularly if your device is one of the more expensive models.

 

#2 – Minimizes disruption to your life

If you are like most people, your smartphone or tablet will hold the contents of your life. You might use it for many tasks including work, to communicate with friends, to manage your finances, to book flights, and so on.

 

If your device is stolen, lost or broken, it can significantly impact your personal and professional life. It could make it impossible to work effectively or impact your ability to socialize with others. Having smartphone and tablet insurance means you can lodge a claim and quickly obtain a replacement device. This minimizes the amount of disruption to your life if something happens to your iPhone or iPad.

 

#3 – Insurance covers scenarios that warranties don’t

The warranties provided by manufacturers like Apple are very limited. They will only cover defects in materials and workmanship when the device is used normally in accordance with the company’s published guidelines. If the device is used in a way that was not intended, breaks down outside of warranty period, is stolen, accidentally damaged, or lost, Apple will not help you. Insurance provides much-needed coverage for these other scenarios.

 

#4 – Insurance is affordable

Mobile and smartphone insurance is surprisingly affordable and has low deductibles. You can obtain coverage from as little as £3 a month, which is a tiny fraction of the cost of your device.

 

#5 – Filing a claim is simple
If something does happen to your insured phone or tablet, getting a replacement or repair is simple. You won’t have to negotiate with the company you bought the device from, you simply lodge a claim and pay your deductible. It is a much faster process than dealing with Apple or another retailer.

 

#6 – Unauthorized calls are often covered

If your phone is stolen, the person who took it may begin making long distance calls. This can turn the theft of your phone into an even more expensive dilemma as any incurred call charges will be your responsibility. Fortunately, it’s common for insurance companies to provide a certain amount of reimbursement for unauthorized calls.

Just like any electronic device, your smartphone will degrade. Batteries deteriorate, display loses clarity and tiny electronics components will weaken. Degradation is the law of nature, which will affect even brand new smartphones protected inside their sealed original box for years. The rate of deterioration is accelerated if you use your smartphone, but fret not.  Keeping your smartphone performing well is actually quite easy.

1. Switch off regularly: Consider turning off your smartphone completely at least every a few days. Wait for a moment, then start it again. Just restarting your device may not completely refresh the OS of your device. This will flush the RAM and remove any program that runs in the background.

2. Clean up your display: Sometimes, you find out that the display responds slowly and become unresponsive. Invisible smudges could occasionally register a tap on the display, making your phone behaves erratically. Read the manual to know how to clean the display properly. Often, you only need a slightly damp, soft cotton cloth, that doesn’t leave moisture on the screen, but still moist enough to capture any dirt and smudge.

3. Manage data usage: Often, you don’t need a mobile data connection when you are working, driving, commuting or taking a nap. With the mobile data disabled, you can save battery life and reduce data costs. Automatic app updates could consume hundreds megabytes of data without your knowledge. It will be more efficient to use Wi-Fi connection to access the Internet, because it takes less power than mobile data. In many areas, Wi-Fi connection is also free, so you don’t need to spend any money, even if your smartphone downloads nearly a gigabyte of major operating system update. It’s even better to put your phone into Airplane mode, when working or taking a nap, so you won’t be disturbed by unwanted calls and social media updates.

4. Charge battery more often: Most modern smartphones use Lithium-ion batteries. It’s better to keep your smartphone charged at between 50 and 80 percent. It’s healthier for your battery if you charge it at small bursts, instead of charging it overnight from zero percent. Make sure that you use official charges, because generic chargers could damage your battery and in some cases, it may cause fire breakout.

5. Clear app cache: You can optimize app performance by clearing temporary files and cache of each app. You may start by closing all apps and then clear cache of each app. Many performance issues on Android devices are caused by accumulated cache.

6. Regain camera functionality: By freeing up more space in your storage, you may regain lost camera performance. It will be faster to store a newly captured image and get your camera ready again. A good way to do this is by moving your photos and videos to various cloud platforms, such as Google Photos and iCloud. This is a good backup strategy, so you won’t lose your data, even if you lost your phone.

7. Manage network issues: If you have network signal problem, the first thing you would do is to check whether the SIM is inserted properly. Check whether there are issues with your account or the coverage of the network in the area. Ask people who use the same carrier in your area to see whether they have similar problems. If the problem can’t be resolved, consider switching to a more reliable carrier.

8. Install anti-virus apps: Android and iOS are fully functional operating systems, just like the one you find on personal computers. So, they can be affected by malicious codes as well. Check latest reports about the most reliable anti-virus app. A virus could work in the background, consuming your hardware resources; making your device works more sluggishly. However, avoid installing multiple anti-virus apps, because they will only make your device slower and you won’t get added protection by having redundant anti-virus apps.

9. Check microSD card: If your smartphone is having issues with reading microSD cards, then there would be a decline in performance. The cheapest microSD card could be the slowest. It’s a good idea to invest on a storage card that offers decent read/write speed. Dust or slight corrosion on the connectors of both the smartphones and the microSD card could also affect transfer speed. With a good wipe, you may ensure proper connection and more reliable data transfer.

If you would like any more information about looking after your smartphone or how to dispose of it or recycle it, in an environmentally friendly way. Contact: [email protected]

The one great thing about Apple iPhones is that they are built to last. If you are looking to save money, sticking with your current iPhone and resisting the temptation to upgrade could make pretty good sense.

But when exactly is it more beneficial to buy the latest iPhone model rather than sit on your existing sim card only deal?

Many people will still have the iPhone 6s. It’s an excellent smartphone that oozes quality even after three years. There should be no trouble in upgrading to iOS 12 either, not now Apple have been pushed into improving speeds for older phones. The jump from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone XR is a fairly big leap in terms of what your device can and cannot do.

The first thing you need to be clear about is why you want to upgrade in the first place.

Most of us use our phones for business nowadays and a few extra features and benefits can make a big difference to performance.

So, what you would be getting if you upgraded to the iPhone XR?

Image Quality

The first difference you’ll notice is the display. The iPhone XR introduces you to True Tone OLED. If you put the two phones side by side, the improvement in image quality is pretty clear to see from the moment you switch on. That fantastic True Tone also translates onto the video format.

Should contrast, colour, and vibrancy be important to you and your business, this could well be a reason to upgrade from the iPhone 6s.

Size and Design

There is a marked difference in the designs of the two phones, though you still get the same level of quality and heft that you expect from an iPhone. Apple have increased the size of the screen for the iPhone XR and there’s no bezel which gives you less dead space.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone XR Performance

The truth is that the iPhone 6s still performs pretty well, despite its age. With the latest games and a world where AI is becoming increasingly important, however, speed and performance are both going to be issues sooner or later.

For a start, the iPhone 6s doesn’t have neural engine. The iPhone XR packs a significantly improved punch, as you might expect. It comes with a 6 core CPU, A12 Bionic Chip, and an 8 core neural engine that makes it one of the fastest phones on the market today.

The iPhone XR also has a much-improved camera compared to the iPhone 6s. A TrueDepth™ sensor not only takes better images, it allows the phone to use face ID. Both iPhones have 12MP main cameras but that’s where the similarities end. The iPhone XR camera has a much greater range and is also able to record 4K video at 60fps. If you use phone photography and video regularly for your business, you’ll notice the difference immediately.

You get more storage with the iPhone XR (256GB) – in a world where files are getting bigger and bigger, this is going to be important moving forward. One of the complaints with the iPhone 6s is about battery life. This has significantly improved in the iPhone XR, with 20 hours talk time and 12 hours of internet use on a single full charge. 

Sim Card Only

The big advantage of the just staying with your Sim Card deal and not upgrading is cost. A new iPhone is a significant investment and whether you are buying outright or on a monthly deal, you are going to have to pay more. The good news is that iPhones hold their value pretty well. If you are selling your iPhone 6s at the same time, it should knock at least a few hundred pounds off the purchase price f the iPhone XR.

If you would like any help, choosing a new iphone or would like to know more about the sim only deals available. Just contact Lascom Solutions via email: [email protected] or call on  08444 127 009