With news of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading into even more communities, talk of the need to work from home is high on everyone’s minds.
While some offices are easily set up with the flexibility to work from home, there are many organizations that are not. Can your organization continue with “business as usual” if everyone is working from home?
In cases where closing an office altogether isn’t possible or practical, maybe consider reducing the in-office headcount. This could mean maintaining the minimal amount of in-house staff while allowing others to work from home. Or rotating work from home days or staggered 4-day work weeks. There are definitely options for reducing social contact.
Now for any organization facing the possibility of transitioning your employees to remote work, there are many things your organization should be doing NOW to prepare.
Start with a clear communication plan with your employees about what your plan is if they are not able to come into the office, and check out our guidelines below on where to get started.
Hardware & Software
What is your organization’s existing policy for staff working from home and/or using personal equipment? Start there. And note that you might have to make some updates or temporary exemptions for this situatiton.
If possible, try to avoid having your staff attempt to work using their personal equipment. Besides being a data and security risk, this is also likely to lead to support challenges for your IT team.
This means you will need to figure out how to provide the necessary hardware and needed software for your employees, especially if you do not have enough laptops for every employee. Now is the time to look into purchasing some more laptops. Or, at the very least, figure out how to help your employee set up their office desktop computer at their house. Although if that is the case, please keep in mind that not everyone is tech savvy so you will need to have a technical person on staff prepared to help with this—before the need to work from home is necessary.
It is also important to make sure the software your employees use are up-to-date and ready to go. Is Microsoft Office loaded on their laptop? What about any design programs? Email accounts?