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With the COVID-19 pandemic causing employers across the globe to suddenly switch to home working, there might have been several things you or your team might have overlooked in the mad rush to lockdown.
We’ve pulled together the ultimate working from home checklist for employers, so that you can ensure your staff has the necessary tools in place to be able to carry out their jobs to their fullest potential.
1. Internet Connection
Does your team have a home broadband connection that is fast, secure, and reliable? They will need to be able to check off all three of those requirements to competently continue home working.
2. Dedicated Space
Check whether all of your employees have a dedicated and quiet office space in which they can safely work each day.
3. Health & Safety
Make sure your team has access to the information it needs on how best to set-up their desks in the most ergonomic way. This is key to effectively managing a remote working team.
4. Trust Your Team
Working remotely means you aren’t able to always have one eye on what your staff is getting up to. It’s important to trust your employees to work from home, making them feel more valued.
5. External Monitors
Working from home needn’t mean your team misses out on the gadgets available to them in the office. Make sure that those who need it have an external display – this will greatly improve their productivity.
6. Ensure Webcams Are Working
Make sure your employees have the best webcams for the job while working from home. Having your video on in virtual meetings adds a human element to those calls, so this is crucial.
7. Let Staff Be Heard
Ensure everybody has access to a high-quality, working microphone. Often those built into laptops aren’t too good, so some of the best microphones for a home office are USB.
A good set of computer peripherals is key to workplace productivity and some of the best wireless keyboards and mice are what your staff deserve.
9. Set Standards
Leave your employees in no doubt about what you expect from them while working remotely. Whether this is how to dress and present themselves in meetings or simply work for set hours every day, be sure to enforce it and upkeep standards.
10. Encourage Routines
Recommend that your employees get themselves into a healthy, home-working routine. Encourage walks around the block and screen breaks – they will be a happier and more productive workplace if you do.
11. Mental Health
The lack of social interaction that comes with remote working can be extremely detrimental to some people’s mental health and wellbeing. Check up on your staff and provide them with all the support they need.
12. Communicate Openly
Internal communications have never been so important. With so much uncertainty going on in the world due to the pandemic, it has never been more important to keep your employees abreast of company fortunes.
13. Data Security
This is one to check up on with your I.T department. There have been reports of several security breaches at major firms across the globe due to home workers accessing work files through their own unsecured networks.
14. Agree On Expenses
With no office stationery cupboard to tap into, your staff might be short on pens, notepads, etc. Make sure they can get what they need but claim these costs back via expenses. It makes more sense than costly shipping fees.
15. Performance Management
Now that you are no longer in the office with your team, you must continue to monitor their performance and growth. Working from home won’t mean employees stop asking for raises and promotions!
16. Social Interaction
Inspire your team to throw virtual office parties when an occasion arises. Working from home needn’t mean birthdays or customer/deal landmarks can no longer be celebrated. Encourage them and join in yourself!
17. Stick To Boundaries
Just because your staff members are now available to work from home, it doesn’t mean you can take advantage of that. Respect their annual leave, and allow them to enjoy their evening uninterrupted after hours.
18. Clean Desk Policy
Encourage your staff to stick to a clean desk policy. One of the major struggles for remote workers is separate home life and their job. A great way to counteract that is for them to clear or better organize desk space so they aren’t thinking about work during their personal time.
19. Avoid Presenteeism
Don’t let a culture of presenteeism creep into your workplace. If staff are sick, then working from home shouldn’t be a reason for them to still be present at their desk. Allow employees the sick leave they need to avoid a toxic culture spreading.
20. Invest In Technology
Put money into services that will help your team to work more effectively from home. If they need a premium Zoom membership, pay for it. If they are struggling to balance workloads, then invest in a tool like Trello or Slack.
21. Video Conferencing
Ideally, you want to stick to one video conferencing platform across your business. Nobody needs to be managing accounts for five different services, if you stick to one, then things will be more seamless and efficient.
Give your employees access to a VPN! You need a VPN to ensure your employees’ home broadband connection is more secure, protecting your firm’s data and IP in the process. There are costs involved but they are more than worth paying.
23. Legal Requirements
For your employees to legally work from home, even on a semi-permanent basis, there may be some legal requirements that need to be met. Ensure the terms and conditions in their contracts reflect this to avoid any unwanted legal cases.
Working remotely doesn’t mean training has to stop. It’s important to continue investing in your workforce with virtual sessions to ensure their growth and development aren’t hampered.
25. Monitor Employee Satisfaction
Using this time of enforced remote working to gauge your staff’s satisfaction levels is a wise idea. Send round a survey asking your team whether they prefer remote, in-office working, or perhaps a hybrid of the two.
26. Insurance Cover
Make sure your staff checks with their insurer and mortgage provider (where necessary) that there are no issues or problems with them working from home, even temporarily.
27. Avoid Burnout
Productivity tends to shoot up with home working as employees aren’t as distracted by colleagues in the office and have more headspace and time to get things done. That said, you mustn’t overwork your team as this can lead to burnout
Ask your staff not to schedule unnecessary meetings that could otherwise have taken the form of an email or shared presentation. Zoom fatigue and back-to-back meetings are two of the biggest bugbears about remote working – so avoid them like the plague!
29. HR Procedures
Make sure you are all up-to-date on your HR policies and procedures. Even the small things, such as ensuring you have the correct address for each team member are really important. This will ensure that any company equipment being shipped out to them doesn’t end up in the wrong location.
To keep staff morale high while working from home, you must give your team a little boost now and again. This can be something as simple as sending each of your employees a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine, just to thank them for working through such a difficult time.
In summary, there is plenty you can be doing to support your team through the challenge of remote working. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with an exhaustive checklist of everything to double-check, bear in mind, and account for to ensure the productivity and wellbeing of your staff.
Remember, working from home is not for everyone and some of your employees will struggle far more than others. What is important is that you are present for their every need, and this checklist of handy reminders and advice should help you achieve just that.