The ability to work from home is new to many employees and as such they don’t know how to effectively work from home. Many employers are concerned about employee productivity dropping substantially during this transition and rightfully so! We will discuss the keys to improving efficiency and productivity so everyone wins.
If you have not seen them, previously we discussed How to Prepare to Work from Home and How to Select the right Remote Access Solution for your business. These are critical elements to having the transition from in-office working to remote working be successful.
With concerns about COVID19 and the spread of other infectious diseases, more Americans than ever are being asked or required to work from home. If your business has not planned for this possibility, now is the time to start. Many employers have serious concerns about allowing employees to work from home, so we will address those concerns and how to mitigate them.
Employee – you should not change your normal routine. Get up, get ready, get dressed, eat breakfast, kiss the kids goodbye, and “commute” to your home office. Your employer is expecting you to be working, so work. Sticking to a routine helps remind yourself, and others, that you are working now. Not only do you still look professional but you will likely act more professional. Remember, working at home is not a vacation.
Prepare your Workspace
In order for an employee to be effective working from home, they need to prepare themselves and their work area. Working at the dining room table invites children and other family members to interact with them during the day. This is not efficient for work. You need to set boundaries and having a dedicated workspace with no interruptions is critical to that end.
If you are an employee, understanding the boundaries from your employer is important. What work should you do from home and what can you simply not accomplish. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Also this means getting all the necessary technology in place to be successful such as Phone, Web Camera, surge strips, charges, headphones, pens, paper, notebooks, etc. Whether these are your personal items or the employer provides them is something you need to work out with your employer. However, it is not unreasonable in today’s world that most people have internet, a phone, and a home computer.
If you are an employer, respecting boundaries and communicating with your staff on your expectations is critical. What work can they do remotely and what will be shifted to someone else? One simple requirement may be that they need to prepare their workspace so they can work from home efficiently. To the extent possible, provide them the solutions they need for success. Computer, Phone, Web Camera, office supplies, etc. These are a relatively minor expense.
Prepare your Calendar
In order for an employee to be effective working from home, they need to understand their working hours options.
As an employer, if you are asking them to work normal hours then do not expect them to respond to work issues 24×7.
When working from home do not forget to “schedule” lunch, breaks, and other not available time. Ideally, publish your calendar to your supervisor so you both are in alignment. Any time you are not going to be at your home-desk working, get it on the calendar.
Collaboration applications such as Microsoft Teams also allow you to set a status such as “Available”, “Do Not Disturb”, etc. and this is a great way to let everyone know your status while you are remote. If you already have them, use them! If not, ask management about the possibility.
Last but not least, make sure you consider your family:
- If your partner is also working from home and you don’t have multiple “work spaces” then you may need to be creative about your schedules. Maybe one person takes the morning shift and another an evening shift? Maybe you work less hours “during” the week and work on solo projects during the weekends?
- If your kids are home consider their schedules and routines
- Work to blend the entire family schedule while keeping in mind your work obligations.
Over the last 25+ years the staff of PCS International have been working on and off remote. It can be done, but it is a skill like any other and will require some changes to your routine. With some time, practice, and a lot of communication – it can be a success for you too.
Select your Remote Access Solution wisely
We hope that your IT Department/Provider is prepared but our experience is that most will not be. A sudden surge of workers working from home takes planning, engineering, and forethought to how your employees perform their work. Having the wrong solution in place will lead to poor performance, dropped connections, and a very inefficient employee.
PCS International: Your Remote Access Team
Let us help you navigate the Remote Access Landscape.
Contact PCS International to learn more about remote access and a virtual CIO could help you save money and grow your business by making the smart choice the first time. We are here to help!