How to work from home in an emergency
The coronavirus has officially become a pandemic and many countries are taking an aggressive approach to limit its spread. Many countries have set quarantines and the U.S. has begun to take drastic measures to curve the spread. While many businesses have already asked employees to work from home, more companies are starting to join in as more stay-at-home orders take place.
Remote work is advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it’s one of the policies that many organizations are implementing because of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Whether or not your employer has an emergency work-from-home plan, there are steps you can take to make sure you can work from home in an emergency.
Preparing for an uninterrupted productive day
Even when there isn’t a new virus spreading, other emergencies can necessitate your sudden need to work remotely. Disasters, water & power outages, and other illnesses are all reasons you might have to work remotely.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Check response times. Pick a collaboration tool that best fits your company. Daily productivity log (end of the day submissions) and Clock-in and clock-out monitors are great ways to keep in touch and make sure work is getting done effectively.
HAVE THE PROPER TECHNOLOGY
Desktop/laptop, phone conferencing, internet, and access to internal networks are crucial to working at home.
HAVE A WORKSPACE
Having your workspace at home is very important for separating work from home life and can increase productivity.
If you have kids, animals or spouses, then you might have often interruptions unless boundaries are set. Set time frames for when you should be left alone and undisturbed.
TREAT IT LIKE ANY OTHER DAY IN THE OFFICE
Dress like you would if you were going into the office.
DONT OVERWORK YOURSELF
Write down tasks and times to complete assignments and follow the list to ensure high productivity and not overwhelm yourself.
KEEP SUPERVISOR IN THE LOOP
Always send a daily log of what you have completed at the end of the day. This will assure your supervisor that you are working effectively.
Best practices for businesses to work from home
USE A SECURE CONNECTION
Remote workers should have a secured Wi-Fi network and work with a trusted virtual private network (VPN). This will ensure any transmitted data is encrypted and protected.
There are plenty of communication apps/programs to use to communicate effectively with the team such as Airtable, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Hangouts.
SETTING UP EXPECTATIONS
If trust doesn’t come naturally for a work-at-home environment, setting up a to-do list and daily meetings can express the expectations of employees. Make sure to have programs and a policy in place so everyone is on the same page. The policy would include instructions for an employee’s daily work schedule, your company’s overtime policy, and a description of a dedicated workspace.
TRUSTING YOUR EMPLOYEES
It is important to empower your employees rather than focus all the time on monitoring them. Making sure the tasks get completed and hosting meetings, are sure ways to keep employees focused on the task at hand.
In order to make sure employees are doing the work, it is good to have a mandatory daily log implemented in the plan to ensure everyone is pulling their weight in the company. This can be done by simply having employees send daily emails or even use programs such as Airtable to communicate effectively.
Some people prefer lunch as their personal hour, but this could be a nice time to reconnect and socialize with the office employees. Making up games or a topic to discuss can help others to join in on the social hours.
Prevent risks with the following safety tips
Get your information from trusted sources like the CDC or WHO.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
DO NOT SHARE ANYTHING
Avoid sharing drinks, make-up, utensils, or any other personal items that could spread the virus.
Always keep 6ft from the people around.
COVER YOUR MOUTH
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and throw used tissues in the trash.
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.