Working from home is not a new consideration for many businesses. For a number of years businesses have effectively supported staff working at home from time to time but with the outbreak of coronavirus working from home has been forced upon a large proportion of the world’s population and many businesses were not ready and did not have time to plan.
The general response was to use what you had or quickly adopt what was easily available or free. Working from the kitchen table on a personal PC with free video chat software has been better than nothing. However is this approach able to sustain an effective home-based workforce? There are many benefits to offering employees the flexibility to work from home but working from home effectively is only possible with the right planning and the right infrastructure in place.
Here are 5 considerations when implementing effective home working:
- Consider your location
For many of us right now, our office is our home. Not only that, our office is also shared with the rest of the family so we have to find ways to support everyone in the household. First, consider the room you are working in. Ideally somewhere private, with minimal distractions and with space (you may need to set some ‘house rules’ during working hours to give yourself private space). Consider your equipment, do you use a mouse, keyboard and large screen in the office? If so then why not have the same at home instead of just your laptop. Consider the lighting, a light source in front of you will keep you well lit for any video calls. This is of course not possible for everyone so just look to tick as many boxes as you can.
Consider your seating. You will spend a large proportion of your day at your seat so is it comfortable and does it provide the necessary back support? Don’t just grab a stool from the play room and don’t work from your bed!
- Consider your working routine
Working from home requires you to be just as alert as working from the office, the job still has to be done! Therefore it is important to consider your working routine each morning. Yes you can still afford that extra time in bed as you are not commuting but is turning on your computer 5 minutes after getting out of bed going to put you in the right mind set for work?
Consider getting away from your desk, stretch and get outside where possible. If you are no longer commuting then consider how many steps you are actually taking per day. Leave time for exercise. A healthy body equals a healthy mind.
- Consider communications
Every business needs the ability to communicate, whether that’s with others within the business or people outside your organisation. Consider how you communicate internally. How do you ensure quick and efficient communication? How do you ensure important messages are being delivered throughout the business?
Consider how your customers want to communicate with you? What have they implemented as part of their WFH solution? Traditional telephone calls may still be the best way to communicate while businesses snap up different collaboration applications. Don’t underestimate the importance of being able to make a telephone call to a customer.
- Consider your Managers
Working from home can be very hard for your leadership team without the right tools to communicate with their staff. Consider how your leaders can manage their staff efficiency, how they monitor activity, provide quality control and how they motivate and boost team morale?
How does the business keep their culture when everyone is working from home? This is not just a weekly team meeting via video call; it is having quick access to team members (which was so easy when in the office), knowing who is available when communicating internally, providing visual aids of encouragement such as sales leader boards for everyone to see, and even team building exercises.
This can all be done with the right management application tools and the right phone system.
- Consider your connectivity
The keys to a successful WFH environment boils down to users having the tools and the right infrastructure to work effectively from home. How can they communicate, collaborate, manage and motivate all from their home office?
Using a combination of the right business applications this can be achieved. But without a good broadband connection you won’t get very far. With applications hosted in the cloud, your home internet connection is the link to all these unified communication features so consider if your broadband connection is stable enough, reliable enough and fast enough.
For immediate improvements to your connection, consider how you connect to your router. Are you connecting wirelessly? If so then how far are you from the router and do you have thick walls/floors between you and the router? If possible consider plugging your computer directly into the router for a more stable connection. What about the rest of the household?
For a longer term solution and to prevent going into negotiations with the family about when Netflix or game consoles can be used, consider a dedicated broadband or business grade 4G connection just for your work. A fast, reliable and stable internet connection is the backbone to your home working capabilities.
If you want to learn more about the tools to effective home working, then call us today or email us at email@example.com.