Supporting the Logistics of Working from Home
With the drastic changes extending to every aspect of life that COVID-19 has brought with lightning speed, millions of people around the world are having to adjust to a new norm of working from home.
Of course, there are many associative factors that yield importance from both an employer and employees’ perspective such as adhering to routine, upholding communication procedures and maintaining structure over the working day. Almost more importantly, however, are those of a logistical nature surrounding one’s ability to effectively work. The fundamentals of working from home centre specifically around such logistics and should absolutely be at the forefront of an employer’s agenda.
Employers should ask themselves, “Have we done everything in our power to effectively facilitate our employee’s capacity to work from home?”. Providing people with the right equipment-laptops, monitors, headsets and power extensions, in hand with effective training for remote-working tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, will serve as a determinant in getting the best from your people in this time of change. Also, the level of sophistication pertaining to tools and equipment alike will determine the quality of outputs generated from remote working.
It is incumbent upon all employers to ensure that their staff are placed in a safe physical environment within which they can work, be it on or off premises. This includes having correct seating, as well as the removal of potential hazards such as trailing cables and wires. An employer’s liability insurance that covers compensation for employee injuries incurred whilst working also extends to instances where employees are working from home. This I believe is an important factor to keep in mind from both an employers and employees perspective given the dramatic increase in individuals working from home.
Open and effective communication between employer and employee is pivotal in accurately predetermining what is to be done and how the next steps of working from home are going to look. This I would break down into two factors.
- A routine check-in between teams and their HQ/line manager to ensure that time is being efficiently optimized and needless distractions are being avoided.
- That there is a clear understanding of work-related expectations and priorities.
I would also say that it would be foolish to argue that, even if all logistical and practical elements were adhered to, there will of course be instances where people will be unable to work from home given their role and its underpinnings. Take most customer facing roles, such as reception staff whose predominant duties are centred around the activities within the office. Employers should take this opportunity to disperse tasks amongst teams, assigning roles whose tasks have increased to a cohort of staff with fewer duties at this given time.