How to Help Employees Work Remotely During the COVID-19 Outbreak
If your business is scrambling to meet WHO recommendations, you’re not alone. Now that the COVID-19 virus is forcing social distancing and self-quarantine on most of us, businesses are suddenly rethinking remote work.
You may not know where to start when it comes to planning for a remote workforce. Newtec Services can help.
Questions to Ask as You Make a Plan for Remote Workers
This may be a wake-up call to companies who’ve been doing things the tried and true way for a long time. With workers across the UK and Europe being asked to stay at home, these companies may realise that they’re not equipped to handle an entirely remote workforce. They may have a lack of tools and procedures to handle partner meetings and keep up productivity when employees are scattered to the winds.
The number one priority for small to midsize companies may be to better utilise their existing infrastructure and scale it so that workers can meet this new challenge securely.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin to implement a plan:
- Do you have a file sharing system that is secure and accessible?
- Do you have a communication system that all employees can use?
- Do your employees have the equipment they need to do their job well?
- Can you handle staffing shortages in the short-term?
- Can you set up videoconferencing or livestreaming options for clients and staff?
- Will your employees know where to go and whom to ask for information when they need it?
The most important aspect of a business is always its people; making sure that people are well-informed and calm during this time is paramount.
Tools Your Staff Needs to Work Remotely
First, the basics. To handle remote work, your employees need to be able to connect to your intranet or internal network wherever they are. Here’s what that requires:
(1) a laptop or desktop computer at home
(2) Reliable high-speed internet
(3) Secure access to the company’s internal network, preferably via a virtual private network (VPN)
(4) Access to corporate emails
(5) A phone they can use for work
These are the must-haves. But when it comes to keeping your workers in touch and productive, you may need to do more.
Developing a Successful Remote Work Policy & Culture
It isn’t enough to provide these resources and send employees home without a more robust plan for communication. Details and nuances can be lost in translation if you’re depending only on company-wide emails or brief texts. After all, good business is all about bringing people together! You’ve got to have some backup strategy for communicating with both staff and clients.
Supplementing emails with either conference calls or, preferably, video calls will go a long way in keeping partners connected and employees motivated. You can facilitate this by having employees download Zoom, Slack, or other types of communication and conferencing tools available online.
It’s important to communicate regularly with employees, focusing on a few need-to-know topics:
- General objectives over the next few weeks
- Prioritised tasks for each week that employees work remotely
- Managers’ levels of availability and whom to contact with questions or emergencies
- Expectations about work hours and tasks completed
- Guidelines for keeping employees accountable for their productivity
It’s also important to move as many client or partner meetings to the digital space as possible during this time.
Keeping Your Network Safe & Your People Informed
Don’t forget to consider cybersecurity as you make plans for this transition. Employees need to understand the risks of using unsecured public wifi or downloading dodgy attachments. It’s important to set firewalls and establish protocols for employees who use their own devices. If you don’t have an in-house IT team that can install sufficient levels of protection, including firewalls, anti-virus software, encryption, and other forms of software protection, contact Newtec Services. We can help you identify next steps and keep your system – and your workforce – on steady ground.
Informing your employees and clients about this virus can also be key to keeping anxiety to a minimum. Sources include local governments, healthcare authorities, and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Remember that cybercriminals may exploit the anxiety people feel and the disruption and disorganisation that working remotely can sometimes cause. So, it’s important to remain calm, but vigilant, during these weeks of quarantine.
If you haven’t already done so, it may help to appoint a response team within your workplace that can meet and share information in case of an update or emergency.
How can Newtec Services Help?
We’re all in this together.
Let us help your company be better prepared for the weeks ahead. Contact a Newtec representative for a bespoke IT package that will keep your employees productive, no matter where they are. We can help you keep your business afloat during these uncertain weeks.