Brave New World
As we go back to our offices, I find there is a new sense of awareness that many people have. Things that we were certain of can change in an instant. We need to be prepared, at least as prepared as we can be.
But I also sense a change in how business will be conducted going forward. Many companies will continue using meeting software, and a lot of companies will have broader work from home policies.
Is your company prepared?
Here are my top 5 things you need to consider with the post COVID-19 business environment.
1.Policies and procedures
Now that your employees are working from home and assuming you want to continue some form of this in the future, you need to have policies and procedures in place to manage how this will work, look and feel. Will your employees have a split schedule, work from home and on certain days work from the office? Always be remote? Or a Mix? Prepare the proper procedures so you have boundaries on how your business will proceed. Here is a good base resource for a your WFH Policy to help you draft the things that should be included: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-10-rules-found-in-every-good-remote-work-policy/
2.Issue company hardware
Some companies had their employees take their company computers home, some had hardware to issue to the WFH employees and others just had their employees use their personal home computer. If your company is going to continue a WFH policy, I highly recommend that you issue company hardware and software. The biggest issue here is the security of the computers. If it is a personal computer, it is not managed and maintained by your IT department and can cause serious security issues. Further, it will keep you from hardware issues and expense, as you may end up having to pay the employee for use of their equipment.
Laptops are probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to handle this but get with your IT department or company to make this decision as some softwares will require certain hardware requirements.
Now that you have the policies in place, the hardware and software issued. How are you going to make sure the employee is meeting work expectations and requirements? There are a couple of schools of thought here;
If you have some way of tracking metrics such as calls made, amount of time on calls, tickets closed, or some other automated system that tracks the work your employees are doing, this is the least overbearing and best indicator that your employee is doing the work you need done.
There are tracking softwares such as Activtrak ( https://activtrak.com/ ) that will track everything your employee is doing on the computer. Websites visited, time on each page, etc. This can be seen as a bit heavy-handed especially if mis-used by whomever is doing the monitoring. But with the right parameters in place it can also be quite effective. Especially if your company does not have the capability of tracking metrics.
When your employees are WFH there is less sense of connection with other employees and management. You need to figure out how to replace the watercooler chat and general information that usually gets passed around during the general day to day operations of your company. How do you keep the teamwork, comradery and chatting going? Again, there are some tools that can help. One that comes to mind readily is Microsoft Teams. Teams is built into your Office 365 software and has a chat feature where you can setup different topics for chat from say project planning to others like water cooler chat. Teams also includes video meeting capabilities and other software integrations for project planning, analytics, human resources and on. It can become a hub for the team to keep the company flow going in the right direction.
For more information on Teams see our business resource page https://www.acaciait.com/business-resources/ and look for our upcoming webinar on Teams.
5. Office Space
Now that you have your employees actively working from home, your policies and practices in place you may want to look at your existing office space. Do you really need all of that space now? Perhaps you can save on your monthly rent by downsizing. If you setup an alternating schedule for your employees to be in the office, you can institute a shared workspace type of environment allowing you to reduce the amount of space you need for your employees and reducing your company overhead. We have several clients that are already considering this move and saving themselves thousands of dollars a month. Again, for coordinating the needs of your employees needs for computers, phones, etc. you may want to consult your IT department or company to see how to best setup a shared workspace environment.
As always if you have any questions about this article or anything IT related please reach out to me at (520) 751-0888 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Durnan is the Owner/President of AcaciaIT and very active in the business community of Southern Arizona. One of the founding members of the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce he is very concerned about the needs of businesses in Arizona. He also strives to educate clients on Computer and Network Security through Lunch and Learns, articles, and webinars.
On the weekends he enjoys spending time with his wife and son at their ranch in Vail and working with horses.