Headlines this week are talking about the fact that we will now be encouraged to work from home, if we can, to contain the COVID 19 virus.
It’s a shame that it might take a global pandemic to force businesses to allow people to work from home. But there is also more to working from home than just ‘letting’ people do it.
1) Test your technology now – does their home wifi support the work they do? Does your system work sufficiently well?
2) Review the home working set up – if this goes on a long time, working on a coffee table and a sofa is not good for health. Make sure that people have a proper workstation available.
3) How will you keep in touch? Allowing people to work at home requires a different mode of management. Regular contact via messenger / skype is essential.
4) How will you help your people? Things will go wrong, people will need help, new joiners will need training. How will you encourage collaboration? What will be your method of escalation when people can’t just walk up to you?
5) How will you monitor work and performance – for some businesses and teams, (as in my old service desk days) have lots of data and stats to help measure performance. How will you empower your people, encourage autonomy but still ensure that the service is delivered and the work is done?
6) How will you brief your management team and staff? Communication is key, have a strategy.
7) Use this period as a case study – see how it works. You might just find that productivity rises, without the distractions of the open plan office. You might find that sickness levels for conditions like anxiety and depression fall, as the stress of getting into the office falls away. You might see team working improve as people really try to make collaboration work.
Of course, not every role can be home based, so make plans for those that can be diverted to home and then consider how you will support those who need to be physically in their location. Make sure they are briefed on the latest health advice and have the support of the management team.
If you need help creating your homeworking plan then contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
For NHS guidance https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/