Many of us are worrying about the current situation around coronavirus and the uncertainty and financial pressures can feel very stressful.
The charity Mind provide advice on how to support your mental wellbeing during this difficult period. Their website includes practical advice on coping with staying at home and updates on how the new coronavirus laws could affect your rights. There is also useful information for any young person who is currently struggling. You can see their website here.
Mind have also put together some tips for line managers about how they can support their team’s wellbeing as well as their own while working remotely or from home.
There are lots of free digital tools available to support homeworking.
Microsoft Teams are offering a free version of Teams that lifts restrictions on how many users can be part of a team and allows users to schedule video calls, conferences, chat, share files and access 3rd party integrations. Video training on how to use Microsoft Teams can be accessed here.
The free version of Zoom enables video conferencing with unlimited one to one calls, group calls with a 40 minute limit and chat functions.
You can find out more here.
Google Hangouts Meet and Google Classroom
Free access to advanced features on Hangouts Meet to all G Suite customers globally until 1 July 2020. These advanced features include hosting meetings of up to 250 participants, live streaming up to 100,000 view and recording and saving to Google Drive.
Find out more from Google here.
Tips for homeworking
You can also find lots of useful tips for homeworking and how to make virtual meetings successful and productive here.
Offer coronavirus support from your business
The government has set up a new service to allow businesses to offer support with the response to coronavirus, whether through the provision of medical equipment, logistics, expertise, and other goods and services.
COVID-19 Scams, Advice and Guidance
Criminals are taking advantage of the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic by running focussed coronavirus scams.
Here are just some of the scams we’ve been made aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online.
- Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they’re just after your personal and bank details.
- There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
- Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
- High return investments.
- Appeals to support bogus charities or those who are ill.
- Fake text messages from HMRC or about free school meals.
- Offering to do shopping for those self-isolating.
- Buying medical supplies online.
- Sending emails offering fake medical support.
How to avoid scams
- Stop – Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
- Challenge – Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- Protect – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
Staying safe online during Covid-19
More people are working from home and schooling children online. Many people are using a variety of new services, apps or devices. You may also be using existing devices and services more often. Now more than ever, it is important for everyone to know how to stay connected, stay safe online, check the facts and remember to take a break. Find out what you can do to to stay safe online during the Coronavirus outbreak here
During the coronavirus period, Somerset Libraries are providing services online 24/7 with access to free books and magazines to download, including titles such as the Economist and business support books and audiobooks. Find out more at www.somersetreads.co.uk
A useful free business tool available to anyone with Library Membership is COBRA “which explains regulations, trading issues, opportunities and developments in over 550 small business trades and sectors”.
Library membership is free, you can join online to receive a membership number and PIN in order to access the resources.
To join visit www.librarieswest.org.uk/join
More useful information
GOV.UK Business Support -Get coronavirus (COVID-19) support for your business or if you’re self-employed, and find out how to keep your business and your employees safe.
Devon and Somerset Trading Standards – Provides advice and support to businesses, works to protect consumers and the economy by ensuring legal and honest trading. They also support the agriculture industry to ensure good animal health and welfare.
Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance – Advice for employers on social distancing during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Contact the debt charity Step Change to get expert debt advice and fee-free debt management to help you tackle your debts.
You can find out more on their website or phone 0800 138 1111
OPSS coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for business and local authorities – How OPSS is supporting businesses and local consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Step Up Somerset
Step Up Somerset is a one-stop-shop which provides support for individuals who are job hunting, seeking training in new industries or working to strengthen their skills. It provides details of employment and skills services and resources.
If you find yourself at risk of or being made redundant you can find a full range of support including help with reskilling, financial assistance and wellbeing information.
For anyone without internet access, further one-to-one help can also be provided via a single phone helpline 0300 790 6275