Welcome to the new normal (for now).
We truly are living in an unprecedented time. Working from home has become the new norm, and your company, like many, may be experiencing some growing pains during this transition. Many companies were not equipped to move to a work-from-home policy in such a short period of time. If you feel a bit overwhelmed from all this change happening, worry not, we are here to help your workforce work from home in a safe and efficient manner.
1. Invest In Equipment
One of the biggest hurdles many companies face when adopting a work-from-home policy is having the right equipment for everyone to do their respected jobs effectively. Today, almost every job relies on a computer in some way and not every employee can be expected to have a powerful computer at home. This is just one piece of equipment that your employees may not have access to.
As you move to working from home, creating an equipment survey to send your employees can be a great way to gauge exactly what you will need to purchase for each employee. Ask each employee if they have access to basic amenities such as: a nice computer, reliable WiFi, a monitor, and more. As the survey goes on you can make it as niche as you want. If an employee needs a wireless keyboard, try to be as accommodating as possible without breaking the bank.
Your company may not have the money on hand to make all these purchases. Just because you do not have the funds available to purchase new equipment does not mean that you can’t. Applying for a small business loan should be your first priority if you’re having trouble purchasing all the equipment that you need. A loan will ensure that you can provide your employees with the right tools to be efficient while remote without taking funds away from other essential areas of the company.
2. Modernize Your Communication Practices
Communication can be hard no matter the setting, but now with mass amounts of workers stuck at home, communicating with your coworkers can be more difficult than ever. With the workforce fragmented, your business must be diligent when it comes to communicating with one another.
As social distancing seems to be here to stay, it would be wise to invest in some internal communication software. Getting your team all on the same communication platform will help keep separate departments connected, and better ensure that your workers talk with each other.
Some of the most popular platforms to start using are:
- Microsoft Teams - A very capable office chat platform that allows you to chat, share, and collaborate on files with remote users. We have created several tips & tricks articles to help users get even more value out of Teams. Check out 18 Tips for Working Remote with Teams!
- Slack - Slack has quickly become one of the most popular internal communication
platforms for businesses. Slack brings all your communication to one convenient app.
Your employees will be able to instant message, video conference, share files, and more
all within slack.
- BlueJeans - BlueJeans is a great way to video conference anyone in your company.
From an individual meeting to a meeting with hundreds of people, BlueJeans can handle
- Basecamp - Basecamp is one of the most powerful, yet simple to use project management software platforms available. Basecamp promotes teamwork and communication across it’s easy to use interface. If you are not using a project management software already, consider signing up for Basecamp.
These are just a few of the numerous internal communication tools that are available to use. There are so many more options available, so be sure to do your research on what tools might be the most useful to your team.
3. Install Safe Security Measures
If your business relies on technology, you likely have been exposed to at least one cyber-threat over the years. Last year, 43% of cybercrimes committed were targeted towards small businesses. As your company moves towards a completely digital workforce, outside of the office, it will be more important than ever to instill security measures to best limit hacking attempts.
Your business will be exposed to more security threats over the next few months. Without the robust firewall that your office likely has, your employees will have to be extremely cautious when on the internet at home.
Many technology experts have said that there will likely be an increase in cybercrime in the coming months. Be especially careful of anything that comes your business’s way that is COVID-19 themed. Hackers and cybercriminals often use timely events to deceive their targets. Remind your employees to be mindful of the links they are clicking and the information that they are giving out. Some common ways hackers can try to deceive you and your team are:
- Phishing attempts: Cybercriminals are currently disguising themselves as government employees and sending emails to companies requesting details about their finances. These emails will often ask for financial details that the government would not request over email. Be mindful of the information you are providing.
- Phony links: Besides phishing for information, cybercriminals often will send maliciouslinks to unknowing victims. These links will also be embedded in a fake email from the CDC or some other government organization. Be extra cautious and inspect the link before just blindly clicking it.
With the increase in cyber threats, it would be wise to strengthen your business’s internet security. Hiring an IT support company is a great way to combat cybercrime. An IT support company will be able to provide 24/7 assistance to best serve all your company’s technology needs.
4. Stay Sane and Motivated
Maybe the hardest thing to do in all of this chaos is to remain motivated. It can be easy to fall into a rut when you are working from home. While most people dream of working from home, the reality is that it is not for everyone. If you are having some trouble staying focused, there likely are some things that you can do to mitigate this drop in productivity.
The most important thing to do when working from home is to establish a routine. Treat the day like any other day. If you usually shower and eat breakfast before going into the office, continue to do that! One of the worst things you can do to stunt productivity is to wake up five minutes before your day starts and roll out of bed to work. Get up, get dressed, and get ready for the day as it is like any other day.
Another extremely important thing you must do to maintain productivity is to establish a
dedicated work location. This spot must be quiet, free of distractions and promote proper posture. Do not work from bed, the couch, or any other soft surface. This can promote poor posture as well as lead to an increased feeling of tiredness. Pick a desk to sit at and get a good chair that provides support.
The last tip we have for remaining sane and motivated is to let loose a bit. When not supervised, we tend to over-analyze everything we are doing. When working from home this is definitely the case. Do not feel guilty if you have to leave your desk for five minutes, or make lunch for the kids. People do not expect you to work eight straight uninterrupted hours at the office, so why should you at home? Break up your day with a walk, a conversation with a housemate, or even a remote conversation with your coworkers to improve mood and productivity. We understand that working from home can be difficult, but following a few of these tips should make the transition much easier!