Businesses across the south west, who are facing changes to their working environments due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be able to access free advice and support on remote and home working with the launch of a new helpline.
Cosmic, a Devon-based social enterprise specialising in all things digital – including digital skills training – has launched its Business Continuity Helpline to share their knowledge and expertise with organisations in the region and to ‘Keep the South West Working’.
The helpline and an associated toolkit will provide advice and support on home working and managing a business during periods of disruption. The helpline is designed to support small businesses, charities and local organisations in the south west – helping them to prepare for the impacts of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Julie Hawker, joint chief executive at Cosmic, said: ‘What we are seeing is unprecedented and we feel strongly that we should support the businesses and charities in our region.
‘There is the big picture for the south west and the impact this will have on our economy, and then the smaller picture as to how this is affecting our businesses and charities. We recognise that in order for our region to thrive, businesses need to be able to work at full capacity. We also understand that many organisations are struggling to make the change and fully embrace all the digital options available to them to enable efficient remote working and that is where we feel we can give support. It really is about ‘keeping the south west working’ and supporting organisations through this crisis.’
Cosmic will provide guidance and advice on the types of hardware, gadgets, software, policies and business processes that can be adopted to enable teams to work remotely from home during periods of isolation. Many businesses rely on face-to-face interaction between staff, customers and suppliers. Cosmic's advice will help people to adapt to new working conditions that may occur as a result of government enforced self-isolation, or the need to avoid virus transmission through close contact.
In addition, Cosmic will carry out a first run through of any recommended digital tools to help staff become familiar with running virtual meetings. These include Skype, Teams, Zoom and GoTo Meetings. The Cosmic Toolkit will contain information on:
- Virtual working
- Technology needs
- Policies and Best Practice
- Meeting Protocols
- Managing staff best practice
- Internal and external communications
Julie added: ‘We are seeing hashtags about cancelling all activity, but we believe we all have a responsibility to support small businesses in our region if we want them to be able to survive this. If we move to a stage where schools have to close, people will need information and support to help them work efficiently when they are also managing childcare. This will have a huge impact on smaller companies, and it is important to plan for this possibility and other changes to our working environment now.’
To access the helpline, contact 0330 088 4421. The line will be open from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Visit www.cosmic.org.uk for more information.