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Small Business

Working from Home – To stay safe

By 19th March 2020No Comments

man sat on a sofa working on his laptop


These are worrying times for small businesses. Our government has taken the unprecedented step of closing schools and childcare facilities, making it impossible for many people with children to work normally.

Transport networks are operating as usual for now. However, if (as expected) the rate of coronavirus infection increases rapidly over the coming weeks there will inevitably be disruption to bus and train services, further reducing the number of people able to make it into their place of work.

This is all before we even take into account those workers who will contract the virus themselves or live in a household with someone exhibiting the symptoms.

The exact number of employees who will be required to self-isolate for the prescribed 14 day period is yet to become clear, but it could easily run into hundreds of thousands. Those with an underlying medical condition will be required to confine themselves for much longer.

Small businesses will be particularly hard hit if the spread of this virus in Ireland follows the pattern of Italy and other European countries. For now the official advice is to carry on going to work unless you are experiencing any of the coronavirus symptoms.

Employees who can are advised to work from home, although for some small enterprises that is not an option. In addition, small firms often operate on tight margins where even a short period of inactivity could have serious implications for cash flow.

Working from home requires discipline. Contrary to what some people believe, home workers don’t spend all day sitting in front of the TV in their pyjamas watching chat shows – they have the same demands in terms of deadlines and productivity as those who work in a large office.

Motivation can be an issue. However, giving yourself a small reward for completing a task or project can be a good way of getting past the temptation to put off doing a piece of work. There is also merit in tackling the least appealing tasks first rather than leaving them to the end of the day when enthusiasm may be waning.

The good news is that working from home doesn’t mean compromising on the financial management of your business. Big Red Cloud customers can continue to access their accounts even if they are unable to travel to their office or place of business.

Our cloud-based is also highly collaborative, which will be important for staff who cannot get to the office for whatever reason. Remote workers can access accounting systems and CRM in real-time with the same control over access as office based technology and with no compromise on privacy restrictions for sensitive information.

Cloud-based solutions such as Big Red Cloud offer a secure and reliable infrastructure for office based and remote workers alike.

During this difficult period it is vital we all do our bit to stay safe and help our colleagues do likewise. If we can make the most of working from home we will all be in better shape when business finally returns to normal.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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