Events such as COVID-19 have shown us how valuable it is for businesses to have the capability to let their staff work remotely.
Allowing employees to work from home gives them more freedom to work flexible hours and manage their work around other commitments, such as the school pick up. Moreover, offering work from home options also opens your door to people with disability who may not otherwise be able to come into the office in person.
With this in mind, here are four key considerations you need to cover to ensure your business can function and remain secure while you and/or your staff are not in the office.
Related content: The 10 Pillars of Employee Experience
1. Tools of trade
Supply your staff with the equipment and tools they need to work from home, such as a laptop, specialist software programs (e.g. Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft 365).
Make sure your staff can access the files and programmes they need to do their job remotely.
Cloud-based services, such as OneDrive, give staff the ability to access their documents from various devices.
Also ensure you provide staff with the login details they need to access online services and subscriptions they’ll need.
While on the topic of cloud services and storage, it is important to ensure these services are secure.
Set up VPN: Providing staff with VPN on their devices allows them to create a secure connection to your network—which is essential for the security of sensitive documents, such as business proposals, financial records and personally identifiable information.
Provide antivirus software: ensure you and your staff have virus and malware protection.
4. Communication platforms
Here are a few must-haves.
Email: This tends to be a more formal medium. It’s good for the big projects and the important conversations you want to keep on record—but they are not ideal for day-to-day conversations that might otherwise happen in person in the office.
Group chat: Chat programmes are useful for those day-to-day conversations that you don’t want cluttering up your email inbox. They can also help your staff remain better connected while out of the office, which in turn aids your workplace culture and engagement.
Tip: choose a provider that allows staff members to create multiple group chats for different teams and projects—else your chat feed can become inundated with multiple conversations at once, which can lead to confusion.
Video and/or tele conferencing: programmes, such as Skype or Microsoft Teams, allow teams to hold group discussions easily without the hassle of typing. Tip: opt for programs that allow your staff to screen share if needed.
Tips for working from home
Working from home can take some time getting used to. Here are a few simple ways to help you transition your working life.
1. Keep your morning routine
Much like a bedtime routine can cue your brain that it’s time to sleep, your morning routine can prime you for work. Whether you get up and exercise in the morning or sit down with breakfast and read the news, keep doing it.
2. Create a dedicated work space
As tempting as it is to sit on the couch, having a proper workspace set up helps us get in the right frame of mind to work. Also consider your chair: you’ll likely be sitting in it for several hours a day—a kitchen stool, for example, is likely to quickly become uncomfortable and could lead to muscular-pain from poor posture.
3. Set your office hours—and keep them
Working from home can cause the lines between your home and working lives to blur. Before you know it, work can begin to intrude on your home life and vice versa. That’s why we recommend setting daily work hours much like you would in a company office. Creating a daily schedule and a list of tasks also helps you keep on track. And when you knock off for the day, try to keep it that way. Don’t respond to emails unless they are urgent.
Want to create an inclusive and positive workplace? Uncover the 10 Pillars of Employee Experience to engage your employees and build a healthy workplace culture.