The new Coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to make headlines throughout the world. Companies like Microsoft and Twitter are reportedly asking employees to work from home when they can. However, what happens if you’re not a global company with fully fledged remote working policies? If you’re an SME and not sure where to start, we have some technological and social factors to consider.
Technical Factors: Hardware and Software, do you have the right tools?
- Do staff have laptops/PCs they can use from home?
- Are they secured work devices or home devices?
- If they are staffs’ own devices can they use them for work, and can you make them secure?
- Do staff have reliable, fast internet at home?
- Do you have a phone system/handsets that allow remote working?
- If connecting remotely into work is the company internet and firewall capable of handling all the traffic quickly and securely? Can it scale to the number of possible concurrent remote users?
- Can staff access line of business applications and data in the cloud?
- Do you have a unified communications and collaboration platform such as Microsoft Teams?
- Start to draw up your remote working policies so all staff know what is expected and how to conduct themselves.
- Encourage the use of group chat software such as Teams for staff to keep in touch. This will help replace the social factors of office bonding.
- Do you need to have physical meetings? Or can they be replaced with online meetings via a platform such as Teams?
- When hosting online meetings video and screen sharing make them much more productive and engaging.
- Encourage staff to maintain their usual routine of taking breaks, going out for a walk at lunch etc.
It usually takes weeks to months of planning, possible infrastructure and software changes to implement a fully-fledged remote working policy. However, it is beneficial to start thinking about how you will deal with situations where workers are required to work from home. Be this due to Coronavirus, bad weather or something else that comes out of the blue. A word of caution: setting everything up properly; securing staff identity, data and apps; gaining staff buy-in with training; sound management and reporting will be the difference between success and failure.