The World Health Organization has declared Coronavirus as a pandemic with 1,70,000+ cases and 6500+ deaths all over the world.
India is among the 15 affected economies targeted by this virus. The onset of the virus brought the country to a standstill, with schools, gymnasiums, and malls being closed until further notice in many cities. The spread of the virus can be savage and everyone has been advised to take as many precautionary measures as possible.
Countries like China, Italy, the USA, and many others have given their employees the option to work from home.
Many companies are looking at this option as a precautionary measure too so that the flexibility can be provided to help employees take care of their health and avoid contamination to others.
Several global companies like Microsoft, cognizant and others . have restricted travel and canceled big events to stop the spread of the virus. They are also advising employees to remotely work from home. In Mumbai, the BMC has urged companies to allow 50% of the employees to work from home under the purview of Covid-19 pandemic.
Work From Home – the need of the day
Precaution is better than cure. The preventive measures we take today will go a long way to protect not only as individuals but the company and the Indian economy on the whole.
Assessing the current situation in India, work from home looks like the only answer available to help out the deteriorating circumstances. The Information technology industry is known for its flexibility offered to its employees to work from home in many situations but other sectors may need some help on this topic.
In this blog, we have chalked out 7 important pointers that can help you facilitate your employees working from home and can be the basis of your work from home policy.
1. Bridge the gap between Management and Employees
Effective Communication is critical for employees and the smooth functioning of any organization. The communication lines can be disrupted once the employees start working from home in light of the Convid-19 current scenario. Human resources should ensure that the sync between the workforce and leadership is constantly maintained to service the customers both external and internal.
- The manager may not be accustomed to handling people remotely and responsiveness can get affected.
- Human Resources can provide options for various apps that can easily monitor responsiveness. Ready to use tools like Slack or video conferencing app can be adapted to enable an effective working atmosphere at home.
2. Tracking the time – Working hours for home
It needs to be communicated to the employees about the expectation here
- Are they supposed to ping the team when they are online? Or it’s not necessary to do so
- What about cases where time is not being tracked in office currently using any tool. Would you start doing this for remote work?
It all depends on the kind of work – In some cases, immediate responsiveness is required and in some cases, it’s just the tasks that need to be monitored, not the time taken per se. Understanding these nuances would go a long way in getting the sync right.
There are quite a few options when it comes to web-based time tracking
- Time doctor – helps track the time the employee puts in, has screen capture options too.
- Tick spot – this not only tracks the time but ensures sticking to the stipulated budget for each project. Good for project-based work.
- Results – This measures the results rather than time. Again, good for project-based work.
- T Sheets – Allows the workforce to work as per their timings and login and out any time. The work is shared via sheets.
3. A carpenter is as good as his tools – provide good infrastructure support to ensure good work.
Most offices are also well equipped with support staff for software maintenance and any other supplies required by the staff. But To make it feasible and comfortable for employees to work at home a new set of policies have to be implemented.
- Computer software, the internet and various other technologies that are mandatory should be facilitated to the employees. Most enterprise software has a web version so this is, in any case, feasible in today’s world.
- Pre-action will have to be taken to make sure the employees have access to all these facilities in advance to work in full power from home. Sometimes connectivity may not be great in certain locations. Or there could be disruption. A reliable backup strategy needs to be in place.
4. Secure Login is important.
You don’t want to be in a situation where client data gets compromised. There is no guarantee on the type of network used by the employees at home. The security issue can be a concern here hence HR needs to take adequate measures to ensure the safety and security of the company while allowing the staff to work from home.
Security services like VPN can be installed on laptops or computers to protect the data of the company. Here are some of the most commonly used VPN options
- NordVPN – security and unblocking
- ExpressVPN -live chat support along with security
- Cyberghost VPN – good for beginners
- Private VPN – as the name suggests can be confidential
- VPNarea – provides a good windows VPN app
5. Are employees more productive when they are remote?
65% of the employees believe they are more productive working from home. (Time saved in travel, less number of meeting and office cross-talk)
Employers, on the other hand, have a set notion that this freedom can be taken advantage of and will affect overall work.
But it is a fact that when it comes to brainstorming and more creative discussions, physical meetings are better. Even here, video conferencing solutions are trying to mimic actual physical meetings to the maximum extent possible.
There are various tools to help increase personal productivity and employees can be encouraged to use them.
- Evernote – This is nothing but like a post-it for you on your desktop or phone
- Todoist – keeps a check of what you have to do and reminds you just in time
- Syncbackfree – to back up, restore and synchronize all your work files.
6. Less time Travelling = More time for Learning.
In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, any training will have to be taken online. Besides even during regular times online learning offers flexibility and is economically friendly compared to classroom learning.
Apart from this, there are several online learning platforms which have announced subsidised / free learning options in the wake of the current crisis.
- Linkedin has mentioned the following on it’ site : “In the coming days, we will make 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free including tips on how to: stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom), and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.” – Something definitely to look forward to !
- Many others like Coursera, EdX and others will soon follow suit.
There are also apps like Tikkle for on-the-go learning. These have features like byte-sized learning and incentive based credit systems.
7.There are a bunch of Tools that can facilitate Work from Home
- Rescue time – blocks any apps that waste your time
- Serene – to help cut our distractions
- Toggle – to help track team productivity. Helps track how long it takes to complete a task
- Trello – A task management tool that makes it easier for teams to complete projects.
- Airtable – An interface of spreadsheet management project-based
- Doodle – Video calls and joint sessions made easy.
- Monday – A task management tool for complex projects and larger teams
- Spark – E-mails made distraction-free for more focus and concentration at work to help complete the task on time.
- Process.st – A tool advised for non – technology companies.
- Zapier – automation for repetitive tasks.
- Slack – helps team communication and can be easily used in desktops and mobiles.
- Zoom – videos and voice calls
- Google Drive – Everyone is well aware of this tool and cloud storage applications. Besides file sharing and collaboration can be used for effective communication.
- Chrome remote – screen share with teammates and freely access your data from any device.
Ready for the fight.
With the world closing in we are all together in our fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Irrespective of your caste, country, religion or color we all face the same fears and are here to beat it to survive as a whole global economy.
First time in human history we have a common fear, a common enemy and a common destiny. And the best part is that as one human race we get to tide over it together.