Flexible Working during the Pandemic

Is remote working going to be part of the new norm for the foreseeable future? It protects our environment by reducing the need to travel and it gives us all a better work-life balance whilst providing the necessary information at our fingertips. The pandemic has forced all of us to re-evaluate our working practices and learn new protocols to help keep our professional lives separate from our personal lives whilst working from home.

During the pandemic, many of you will be using personal equipment if the Council has not been able to equip all staff with a laptop and mobile to work from home, which is an increasing trend even before the pandemic known
as “bring your own device” (BYOD). If your home internet connection is problematic a popular alternative is a mobile WiFi router that is battery and mains operated and uses a mobile phone SIM available from mobile phone providers. Council phone calls can be answered and made on your laptop and mobile by using a VOIP app such as Telavox

Microsoft 365
Remote working is only a practical proposition if the Council is operating from the Cloud by using products that store everything in the Cloud and not on any local or office based device. Good examples of that are Microsoft 365 and Google Docs which provide email, office applications, online storage of documents and video conferencing for virtual meetings.

Here at EDGE we supply and recommend Microsoft 365 and we have been helping our clients during the pandemic
to transition to Microsoft Teams for virtual meetings.

Our clients have continued to administer their Councils as normal albeit on a paperless basis by using our AdvantEDGE range of 10 cloud based modules, apps and portals which provide facilities for Council websites such as bookings, complaints and Epitaph genealogical searching.

Professional Services
Can be delivered remotely via a virtual meeting, for instance with an internal auditor, accountant or VAT consultant. External professionals can also be provided with appropriate and restricted access to the Councils administration system if it is cloud based like AdvantEDGE.

Here is what 2 of our clients had to say about EDGE during the pandemic:.

“Sedgefield Town Council has operated AdvantEDGE Solution’s finance module for a number of years thereby developing a very strong working relationship with EDGE IT Systems. This relationship, coupled with the resilience and robustness of the Finance module, proved to be invaluable in quickly and efficiently finalising our 2019/20 year end accounts and associated documentation by 8th April 2020 despite the coronavirus lockdown. Regardless of the total lockdown restrictions imposed our work was achieved on target by utilising virtual meetings through Microsoft Teams. By activating the Internal Auditor element of the Finance module our internal audit work was completed by the end of April 2020. By 9th April 2020 the Town Council was actively operating in the new 2020/21 financial year all due to the first class support received from EDGE IT Systems and the completeness of its Finance module”.
Jayne Ayre, Town Clerk to Sedgefield Town Council

“We’re using (AdvantEDGE) Service Manager to log calls to our parish COVID19 Helpline. We’re using a web based VOIP phone answer service to record people’s messages, and these are logged to the Service Manager by our staff during office hours. We’ve set up categories for prescription collection, shopping, social chat and referrals to other organisations. We can assign the calls to our volunteer team leaders and email them out daily so they can be dealt with promptly. Our volunteers’ details are also logged, and we can use the Service Manager
to keep a secure track of both residents and volunteers. All logged calls remain on Service Manager so that repeat callers can be identified and we can build up a history of their needs. It’s working really well for us so far, just two and a half days in. Thank you to the EDGE IT Systems team for pulling this together so quickly when we needed it most!”
Katherine Kearns, Town Clerk to Nailsworth Town Council

EDGE have been supporting Local Councils for 28 years, so please see our leaflet in this edition and contact us for further information on Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, AdvantEDGE, Epitaph, Telavox VOIP or any other IT requirements, and see how we can help you operate more efficiently and safely.