Due to a variety of reasons, the concept of Work From Home is increasingly being adopted by businesses around the world.
Technically speaking, these days, any of your employee that primarily works on a computer can easily work from home.
There are several benefits that WFH model offers. For instance, foot traffic at the office location is reduced, no additional space required when adding more staff, office building related expenses are reduced, the work can continue in the event of DR and BCP, staff saves time and money by not commuting and enjoys home-made lunch, etc.
If you need to have your designated staff work from home in the most effective way, ZRG team is here to help with our experience, knowledge and solutions. Our aim is to help in making WFH strategy work for you, especially if you're doing it for the first time.
We have gathered and put together useful tips that can be used for working remotely, possibly for an extended period of time during a DR condition or due to change in business strategy.
1. Get the technology in order.
Technology is what enables remote work in the first place.
So make sure that the employee has a working laptop, cell phone and internet access device at home. Mouse and keyboard - anything that might make working on laptop for longer hours a little easier.
Next is the software. Make sure each user has the right applications. Lots of remote workers are leaning heavily on Remote access, Slack, Skype, Zoom, etc. Evaluate out what will work best for your team your office.
Of course, you'll want to make sure all your technology actually work from home. Your IT and networking teams play a major role in making it happen.
2. Make sure the bandwidth is available
Another thing? Network access - is it robust enough at home to allow you to voice and video chat or join in a conference? High speed wireless internet access is easily available from multiple providers.
To maintain stable connectivity, do not allow this bandwidth to be shared by the employee with anyone else at home.
3. The kids are alright - but they're home too.
If your employee would be working from home with kids around, then as a parent, they will need to make a plan for the education and entertainment of the kids. They can stock up on books, board games and puzzles.
Also, be flexible about how much work your employee might realistically be able to get done in a shift if they're balancing child or elderly care.
4. Manage expectations.
It is best to have a discussion with your staff about what can actually be accomplished from home.
A manager can explain what the priorities are, and should discuss how tasks will get done.
How are teams going to track projects they're working on? How will they meet to discuss this? Will everyone be connecting on Slack or email, etc? Will there be standing meetings at a certain time to get everyone coordinated?
This should be an ongoing conversation. Remember, going fully remote is a new experience for many companies and their workers.
Be honest about what isn't working or can't get done in these circumstances. More overall communication is going to be necessary.
5. Provide these guidelines to your WFH staff
If you're distractible, get ready for work every morning like you are going to physically go into work. Dress up, do your hair - whatever you'd normally do. This puts you in a professional mindset.
It's hard to draw a sharp distinction between home and office when you're at home. But to the extent possible, create a space at home that looks and feels like your office to you.
If you're the type of person who never takes a break at home, set a timer to take time for lunch, and turn off your work. Or go for a walk. If you don't change your venue at some point during the day and take a breather, it can make the claustrophobia worse. Try to maintain normal work hours, and shut things down when you would normally leave the office.
During audio calls, you can even try repeating back what you heard the other person say, to make sure you interpreted the person's meaning correctly.
You should be comfortable with using the webcam. Webcams are great to have face to face discussions and it is helpful in minimizing the sense of isolation or confusion. Screen sharing is an excellent alternative to paper based printouts.
6. Stay connected.
One undeniable loss is the social, casual "water cooler" conversation that connects people - if your staff is not used to that loss, full-time remote work can feel isolating.
To fill the gap, you can have your team leaders schedule online social time to have conversations with no agenda. Again, embracing video calling and webcams will help the staff see colleagues. Try an icebreaker over your team chat: What's everyone's favorite TV show right now? What's one good thing that someone read that day?
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