We are going to witness a much different world as we emerge from this sheltered state. Regardless of government decrees, employees are not going to flock back to offices eager to work next to hundreds of coworkers. Employee safety now requires social distancing, limiting physical presence, strict cleaning policies, zero tolerance on working while sick, wearing face masks, and taking extra precautions for employees at considerable risk.
If the policies you put in place are weak, they will reflect terribly on your business, put employees in danger, and even force at-risk employees out of your company. There are many strategies you can employ as a business owner to adapt to the situation. One approach is to develop and support a world-class team of remote employees.
Here are a few ideas. If you’re ready to put any of these strategies in place, markITnerds partners with a number of technology service providers that can help you. Contact us here.
Improve IT Support
Your IT staff may be great for supporting the office environment, but they can be overrun with support calls from at-home workers. Furthermore, they may not have the patience or skills to guide them through applications for video conferencing, file sharing, or troubleshooting their home network. You may want to consider contracting a service to provide remote application support and training.
Invest in Teleconferencing
You may have relied on free services in the past, but now that this is a core part of your remote workforce, an upgrade may be in order. If you only have one licensed user who is allowed to set up conferences, it may be time to increase your subscription. Perhaps you need laptops with better cameras. If training is an issue, you can run sessions to help your team improve their web conferencing skills.
Remote Tellers, Hosts, and the Front Office
Necessity is the mother of all invention, and you need to keep people who can work from home, at home. Your staff members who greet customers, set appointments, and provide general assistance may be able to do so remotely. All phone inquiries and orders can be handled remotely. You could even have a virtual presence on an iPad so that a front desk administrator can remain a part of your organization without risk of infection.
Setup Secure Remote Connectivity
Cyberattacks have increased by nearly 600% during the COVID-19 crisis. Many opportunistic con artists are looking to capitalize on the confusion caused by rapidly rolled out government programs and proliferation of at-home workers. New remote employees create a significant challenge to IT security. They operate on consumer-grade networks with fewer security protocols and even use personal laptops. For sensitive facility operations and business data, you can implement secure, remote connectivity solutions. Private networks that direct traffic through bank-grade firewalls and leverage the cellular infrastructure can greatly reduce risk.
Home Office Supplies and Allowance
Are your employees spending their own money on home office supplies, equipment, and connectivity? It’s understandable to expect your employees to handle this in the short term. However, if you’re looking to make this arrangement more permanent, you should consider some perks. A few ideas include sending an occasional care package, setting up shopping lists with office supply retailers, paying an allowance for the Internet, and providing a budget for proper furnishings, computers, and peripherals.
As we adjust to the “new normal,” we will find that many positions can be productive at home. Whether this becomes a permanent shift toward telecommuting or not, there are many benefits to working from home. What about your work-from-home situation makes you less productive? What technologies, training, or space is needed to solve those issues? If you’re an employer, what beliefs are you holding onto that prevent you from considering a change?