The F Word
In analysis / By Mark Lee / 07 April 2020
By Mark Lee
In addition to impacting all of our lives in previously unimaginable ways, the Coronavirus is bringing new buzzwords such as social distancing, self-isolating and now furloughing into daily use. Who knew what furlough meant until 10 days ago? The UK Government furlough job retention scheme announced on the 20th March will hopefully protect jobs in the mid and long-term by giving short-term financial support to UK businesses to the tune of £330 billion.
However, for law firms taking advantage of the scheme to furlough employees, there are additional considerations and cost-saving opportunities available.
Staff on furlough must categorically NOT work for the firm during this period and it is important to make sure that they don’t. Reading and responding to work related emails or other business correspondence is work, and furloughed employees need to be careful not to inadvertently cause themselves or the business difficulties down the line by typing a quick work email on their smart phone.
One strategy may be to lock furloughed users out of their mailbox and other systems, but this consequently risks important messages being missed, mailboxes reaching limits, mail being bounced, and data being lost, permanently.
Getting this wrong could be problematic, but if it’s managed well, law firms can ensure that both they and their fee-earners comply with the furlough rules and protect their data and communications whilst also accessing additional cost-savings.
How to Benefit from Cost Savings
Last week, Nasstar parent company, GCI, helped several of their customers reduce their monthly software licensing costs for each of their furloughed staff from £30 to £1 per month, whilst they are not in use. In response to customer demand, and the simple realisation that all businesses should be doing this, GCI has launched the IT Service Furlough.
Quite simply, the service has been designed to protect businesses data by ensuring that their email is managed and that they and their employees are compliant with the furlough rules. In addition, this ensures that they can prove that the business was compliant during this time, if called upon to do so in the future.