Last updated: Tuesday 17 March (we will be monitoring government advice closely and updating this blog when further information becomes available).
With the threat from the coronavirus (COVID-19) now at an all-time high and official government advice telling people to minimise social contact, we thought it would be useful to summarise some steps you can take to ensure it’s ‘business as usual’ at your company.
Following the latest advice designed to minimise the spread of the virus, thousands of companies have now shut their offices. As such, ensuring your staff can work from home effectively will be critical over the coming weeks (or even months).
Before going into any detail, it is worth stating that you should have carried out a risk assessment for such a situation and have an easy-to-understand business continuity plan which is accessible by all staff. The best place to host these plans is in the Cloud with an anonymised, publicly accessible link that you can send via WhatsApp or Microsoft Teams.
With that in mind, here are some of the steps you now need to be taking:
Ensure your staff have the tools they need
If all your IT systems are already running in the Cloud and your team has laptops, you probably already have this covered. If not, you need to ensure staff have the appropriate equipment they need to be able to work from home — including laptops or desktops, power adaptors and reliable internet access.
Clarify your work-from-home policy
During these uncertain times, it is essential to clarify your company’s work-from-home policy for all employees. This includes giving staff guidance on how to communicate with each other, when to take breaks, where to direct client calls and so on.
Implement effective communications tools
If you haven’t already, create a group on a mobile messaging app that all your staff have access to so that you can communicate with them instantly. Microsoft Teams is great for this (but check all your staff have the Teams app on their phone). Alternatively, WhatsApp may be more convenient.
You should also set up your office phones so that they can be answered by staff working from home. If you do not have a cloud phone system, ensure your numbers can be forwarded.
Encourage video conferencing to avoid travel
With the Government advising against all non-essential travel, using public transport or flying are both a no-go at the moment. Much better to avoid this altogether by shying away from face-to-face meetings and meeting online instead.
If you have Office 365, then you will likely have access to Microsoft Teams already — from which you can host video calls with multiple people. Setting up a basic video conference facility in your meeting room is simple and can be done for no more than the cost of a flight!
Make sure staff are comfortable using software
It’s important to ensure staff understand and feel comfortable using any software they may be required to use when working remotely — and any security issues related to this. If needed, set up training on how to use the software (this can be done virtually).
Monitor your staff’s wellbeing
Finally, it’s crucial to monitor your staff’s wellbeing. Working from home can quickly become very isolating — especially if the person lives alone. Be sure to check up on employees through the communication tools you have implemented and maintain regular contact.
Pro Drive will be holding short video workshops and webinars on remote working every day, covering a range of different areas. To find out more about how you can join, contact us now!