The Coronavirus outbreak has been a challenging time for communities around the globe. To those who are unable to work from home due to the nature or necessity of their jobs: we see and appreciate you.
For those of us who work in an office setting, we are fortunate that the nature of our careers makes a transition from in-office to at-home work fairly easy. Laptops are portable, cell phones can stand in for company devices and in 2020, email is ubiquitous.
However, due to the uncertain nature of the outbreak, entire organizations are now working from home — not just a small subset of the workforce. And for employees who normally commute to the office and communicate in-person with their coworkers five days a week, this is a big behavioral change.
While at present, your organization might struggle to support this transition, it’s important to look to the future. Not only could we encounter similar outbreaks or public health emergencies in coming years, but the trend toward remote work is only projected to grow — the number of remote workers has already grown 173% since 2005.
Below are some of our tips and guidance on how to best prepare for a large-scale migration to working remotely.
- Make a full transition to the cloud. Now more than ever, organizations should focus on transitioning fully to the cloud rather than hosting files and data on-prem. During an already stressful time like this, employees’ inability to connect to an on-prem system from their homes creates an additional, unnecessary stressor. It’s important to stay up to date with technology like the cloud as it develops. By staying current, you give the entire organization the ability to quickly react and adapt to situations like the one we are in now.
- Ensure employees have adequate technology training. In addition to adopting new technologies as they become relevant and necessary, it’s critical to ensure that employees have adequate training in how to use them. You don’t want to encounter a situation where a user at home doesn’t know how to use a system, log in to an application or find a file. Alleviate this future friction by making sure employees have access to all necessary training materials and that they fully understand the system or tool at the time of implementation.
- Reevaluate your work-from-home policies. Does your HR department have policies around how employees should check-in when working remotely or when and to what degree they should be available when working remote? It’s important to remind all employees that, while you understand working hours and priorities may shift, you still expect them to be productive at home. This is especially important for those employees that are not used to working remotely. With everyone working remotely, you can’t simply check over the top of your cubicle to see if someone is available to talk. Use your UCC platform tools, like video and chat, to establish presence, where you can see when employees are online and accessible.
You want your teams to take care of their families and be respectful, smart members of their communities, while still feeling productive and fulfilled during working hours. In this moment, you might find yourself struggling to respond to the outbreak as it develops. The task is undoubtedly difficult — you can’t simply shift the way your organization works overnight. Do the best you can now and take these points of guidance to heart, so that next time, everyone feels supported and productive at home for as long as necessary.
An event like this has the power to change the way that we work entirely. This crisis could be the catalyst for more robust, widespread work-from-home policies for workplaces in the future — and there’s no harm in getting a headstart on a more productive future with smart technology choices today.