While many companies have asked their employees to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, not all of them had a teleworking preparation plan. In hindsight, many business leaders are noticing elements that could have made the transition to working from home easier.
Implementing a preparation plan for teleworking can help your business transition seamlessly to working from home. Whether you want better preparation for handling a national or global emergency or just want to create a more flexible workforce, you can use the following tips to assess your company’s readiness for a teleworking environment.
Create the IT Infrastructure for Teleworking
Teleworking requires certain technology to ensure that everyone stays connected, follows a schedule, and adheres to deadlines. Getting the technology in place can make it easy for you to allow workers to stay home.
Your employees will need high-speed internet access as well as security features on their network. You may also need to provide workers with equipment, such as a phone and laptop with a webcam.
You may also want to use productivity software to keep things running smoothly. Cloud-based services can help you streamline everything from documents to project management. Your teleworking preparation plan can also involve training employees on how to use the new technology.
If your employees are still digging through file cabinets to access important information, your business is probably running less efficiently than it could. Digitizing information makes it more secure and less prone to being destroyed or eliminated. Digital data is also easier to find with a computer search function.
When employees have all important documents and information accessible from home with a click of the mouse, teleworking will be easier.
Employees are going to have plenty of questions when they begin telecommuting. Your preparation plan should involve writing the rules for the employees who work from home.
Some questions that you may want to address include:
- Working hours
- Types of equipment to use for calls, video conferencing, etc.
- Standards for inter-office communication
Remember that employees will likely work at their own pace when they are not being watched. Make accommodations for this if necessary, understanding that the work from home environment may be different from the office environment.
When you do not run into your colleagues at the water cooler, you may miss out on important communication opportunities. Establish policies for encouraging communication between employees.
You might want to leave a virtual chat room open so that people can pop in to connect throughout the day. You can use project management software to keep teams in contact and allow employees to organize their communication.
Preparation for teleworking does not have to be a headache. Starting early can help you stay calm if you experience an emergency. Early preparation can also help you stay competitive in the changing work environment.