Working from Home During a Time of Uncertainty

Working from home is an interesting situation to find yourself in. Plenty of employees find the idea of working in a familiar environment relaxing and that their surroundings help them be more productive. Others find the idea of staying home all the time smothering or potentially distracting. Which is the better choice for your employees?

When it comes to working from home, much depends on both the employer and employees. Will the employees be able to focus on their work outside the office? Conversely, will the boss trust them to do everything they were hired to do? What about work that can’t be done remotely? Here’s a closer look at working from home and how to keep up with work outside the office.

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Working from Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: coronavirus. The extent of the outbreak and its potential dangers are far beyond the scope of a simple blog article. Most business owners are primarily concerned with protecting themselves and their employees while also maintaining a profitable business so no one has to lose their job. For many, working from home wasn’t even a choice, but a consequence of stay-at-home orders from local authorities that made office commutes questionable at best.

The best way to keep your business afloat is to focus on establishing your work habits and environment from home. Arrange conference calls or chain emails instead of calling everyone into a conference room for a meeting. Email digital files or share cloud data rather than passing physical papers to a coworker. In many ways, remote working is simply a logical approach to a work environment that relies on the internet–office buildings aren’t essential to get work done in many cases.

Pro Tip: Working from home may be more of a requirement now than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. Talk with your employees to find a good way to balance being quarantined with having a productive workday.

Telecommuting Technology

Without the ability to stand up and talk to someone across the room, employees working from home will need special technology to ensure they can still communicate and share files as needed. A few things to investigate include:

  • Cloud-based services: to allow your employees to share files with ease
  • VPNs: to allow your employees to log in to your business network from any location, with any device
  • Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP): to give your employees access to all the features of a corporate phone system (conference calls, video coaching, etc.) via the internet
  • Telecommuting management software: this can range from glorified checklists to detailed communication and sharing systems that help keep your employees connected.

Depending on the nature of your business and your employees’ exact needs, some of these software options may help more than others. Get their input to see what could help them out during a work-from-home period.

Staying on Top of Work

Many business owners may be nervous about a work-from-home period since direct supervision is no longer possible. The solution is not to email your employees constantly about their work! Instead, ask for periodic updates and encourage open communication about their progress and any problems they may encounter. Make it clear that (most) deadlines still apply, but that you trust your employees to deliver and get their job done in time.

Telecommuting for Success

Working from home is not a problem for many types of businesses, but neither is it a universal solution for everyone. Some employees will need more help with telecommuting than others. The most important principle at this point is communication. Be open with your employees about what you need and encourage them to do the same. Open dialogue from both parties will encourage a productive period of working from home.

Connect with us for more telecommuting tips and ideas.