As we move into another day of yet more government policy updates, the message is clear, only essential travel and those who can, should work from home.
Is this something you and your firm are ready for?
Many larger firms are going beyond government guidelines, closing offices across the globe and ensuring their staff have the facility to work from home to limit the spread of the infection.
This may seem easier for larger firms to achieve, with KPMG set to ensure all 8,000 staff based in its central London office work from home as of the end of the week, but it is not impossible for smaller firms. And I would argue, potentially more necessary. Can your small business afford for 2 or 3 of your staff to be off sick for 2 weeks at the same time?
Whilst we have today provided tips to facilitate working from home on mass in the short term, this enforced test could change the way we work forever as firms look to the future and invest heavily to allow their business to continue over what are likely to be, challenging months.
Reports of not only loo roll shortages, but laptops selling out as firms bulk buy in preparation for their employees to move to home working.
Firms will need to consider their workers at home infra structure from network capability and security to manager and staff support and the potential downside and emotional impact of self-isolation.
Smaller companies will need to review their own IT infrastructure to see if it is able to cope with all staff working from home as well as what to do about those tasks that really must be completed on site - such as dealing with the post.
Whilst smaller firms may complain about their staff working from home, we must spare a thought for those people and business that do not have a choice. Healthcare professionals, retail and hospitality workers and manufacturing sectors will all suffer through the coming months of isolation.
If you have yet to consider your firms policies or next steps on home working, I would urge you to consider this as a matter of urgency. Look at your IT infra structure and what it can support, what you are able to upgrade and what do you need to work with. Work with what you have got, talk to your staff about their capabilities and what their home working situation could look like. Consider your policies now and don’t be caught out.
You never know, your staff may surprise you and working from home could be the best thing that happened to your business with reduced office overheads and happier staff that work longer and are more productive.
Below are some top tips to consider before sending your staff to work from home
· Do they have the appropriate computer equipment at home
· Is the Company’s IT infrastructure able to support at home working for all staff, if not for all staff, do split shifts of some staff in the office and some at home
· Is it too late to go paperless if you’re not already
· Security of taking papers home, internet security and protection of data should all be considered in line with GDPR
· How to manage and communicate effectively with your staff – more phone calls, team chat groups or other easy communication methods to ensure everyone is up to date, especially on group projects
· Speak to your staff and ensure they can easily work from home, check in and encourage communication, not just about work, but to make sure that they are all coping with the transition.