Fighting the cold and flu in the workplace is something most companies have already experienced. Many businesses are trying to determine how to prepare their offices and employees to work from home or work remote from anywhere. Learn to create a plan, educate employees and provide the tools that the staff needs.
Creating a Work from Home Plan
In creating a plan for your business, consider the following:
Work from home options: Determine if it’s possible for part or all your workforce to work from home.
Your company’s remote work policy: Now may be the time to put a policy in place if you don’t already have one.
Communication: Define how your teams will communicate, the frequency required and how reporting on the progress of work will be handled. This information could be included in your policy.
Employee information: Make sure you have an updated contact list for all employees.
While U.S. companies lag behind much of the rest of the world on remote work, there is a trend to accelerate acceptance and lead to change.
If your organization doesn't already allow remote work and have access to collaboration tools, this is a good time to think about the alternatives. Tools for working remotely include setting up conference calls on mobile phones, accessing work email on mobile devices, and tricks for sharing documents and other information.
Have the right technology in place to prepare your workforce for remote work. Consider the following:
Supply employees with laptops. You might also want to consider providing or loaning out monitors if that is what the office workspace offers.
Make sure you have enough VPN licenses as well as enough bandwidth for access.
Office phones need to either forward to cell phones or you can use a softphone application on the laptop.
Use a cloud-based chat system or task management software to allow for remote collaboration.
Make sure all remote work setups meet your company’s IT security protocols. For example, you may want to prohibit the use of personal computers.
Buying all the necessary hardware should be done sooner rather than later, so you can implement your plan right away, rather than scrambling to purchase equipment at the last minute. Solid technical services support may also be a wise investment.
Networking and Security Software: Home computers need to communicate with office computers in a way that is seamless and safe.
Streaming Communications: Microphones, web cameras, and enough bandwidth to stream live video are important so that employees can still interact with each other, meet virtually, and collaborate.
Tech Services and Monitoring: You want employees to have access to technical assistance at a moment’s notice so that any problems that arise can be solved quickly, without frustration and loss of work time.
Investing in remote work and collaboration tools now makes sense for organizations anyway, according to Office Depot brand Compucom. Smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices have long-since erased the line between "work" and "home." Employees want to be able to contribute from wherever they are whenever they need to. Studies show flexible working policies lead to improved employee engagement and documented productivity improvements. The Global Workforce Study found 80 percent of respondents would select a company with flexible working arrangements over one without the policy.
How to Get Tech Help A 24/7 tech support plan can include data recovery and backup, device support and tech coaching.
Go to the next level with a managed IT service. Get help evaluating your remote work strategy and what collaboration tools are available. Consider an industry leader in providing workplace solutions, so that you can quickly get set up with what you need to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on your organization.
About the Author
Gayle Towell is a freelance writer, editor, and educator whose areas of expertise range from higher education to physics.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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