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Homeworking tips for businesses

Homeworking as advised by the government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst we know that not every business will be able to operate from home, here are some tips for those that can:

Know of any potential impediments your staff may face

Even though this sounds obvious its worth have the conversation with your employees, they may have:

  • limited broadband speeds
  • lack of phone access due to costs
  • problems accessing certain documents or software if they are stored on work servers
  • children home as schools are closed

Keep in touch with your team

With the developments in technology it is possible and relatively simple to hold online meetings, give presentations, share screens and conduct training. There are lots of different online meeting software providers for example:

  • Zoom
  • Skype for business
  • GoToMeeting
  • Microsoft teams

Health and safety standards

It is important to bare in mind that as an employer you have the same health and safety responsibilities as for any other workers. Read guidance from the Health and Safety Executive here

Conference calls and team meetings

If you work in a close knit office and are used to communicating freely this will be a big change. Team meetings are always important but with staff spread out become even more so. Nobody wants to loose the ‘team spirit’.

For a productive meeting:

  • try and have one person in charge of the meeting to avoid everyone talking over each other
  • Have a clear, well communicated agenda
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  • Set time limits
  • Try to minimise distractions
  • Conclude with clear actions

Cyber security

The Thames Valley Police Cyber Protect Team has passed on the below guidance, sent through by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is respect of employees working from home during the COVID-19 crisis.

“With the anticipated increase in homeworking as the government moves into the ‘delay’ phase of its coronavirus response, we would encourage businesses and individuals to familiarise themselves with the NCSC’s online cyber security guidance. This guidance covers everything from strong passwords to the type of security software to use, and applies to devices including laptops, mobiles and tablets for home and mobile working.”

NCSC spokesperson

Read the guidance from the NCSC here

Homeworking will also be a massive change for employees, who are likely to feel a little lost to begin with.

Communicate any hindrances to your employer

Let you employer know if you face any ‘challenges’ due to homeworking, it may be:

  • Internet problems if everyone is trying to work from home
  • Not being able to access certain software
  • Children home unwell or home schooling

Keep in touch

It is important to keep in regular contact with your employer, whether its by email, text or call. If you are unsure of what your supposed to be doing, need confirmation or have a question let them know.

Keep a routine

Try and keep a routine that closely resembles your usual one, ensure you eat and drink throughout the day and remember to try and keep to a schedule. If you can minimise or avoid any distractions where possible.

Keep your output up

As homeworking is the reality for thousands right now and could be for the foreseeable future, it is important that you do your best to ensure deadlines are kept and you actually are working from home. This will minimise stress and help keep that important routine. Remember to keep in touch with your team.

Work/life balance

You may find it easier to keep your personal life separate to your work life- maybe by working in a separate room to where you spend your downtime, if this is not possible then try and keep to your normal working hours to help the focus stay in ‘work mode’ and leave the household chores until after work.

read our previous blog on COVID-19 Key-workers