There seems to be a real sense of awareness recently to the possibility that companies may require employees to work from home rather than in the office. I’ve read several banking firms have been testing this model. Will this new bug force us all to work from home for a period of time? I can’t answer that for sure, but if it did, I’d like to suggest some things you can do now before that happens to keep productivity high and people connected.
Now is a good time to set up a private company Facebook group and invite co-workers to join. I would also recommend setting up a group chat using apps such as Messenger or HipChat or Slack Chat. These apps can remain running on your computers throughout the day giving users a nearly live communication experience. Setting up a Skype account for your employees or Google Hangouts will allow users to do video conferencing individually or in groups.
Make sure you have a good noise cancelling headset for your phone. Chances are there will be new noise challenges at home that you don’t typically have to deal with in the office. Being able to carry on a clear call is important. Also, make sure you have an agent installed on your computer that allows your IT support folks to remotely connect to your device should there be trouble. This may include your home PC that would not normally be used for work. Finally, make sure you a good backup plan in the event you have a hardware or software failure on your main device. Set aside a spare laptop or tablet or desktop PC that you could setup and get running to use until your primary device can be repaired. If you are unable to leave your home this could be a while so take time to plan now.
You might need to get a silly chicken. Ok, let me explain! Years ago when I worked in an office that had no walls or partitions whenever someone would need to focus on their work we had an obnoxious chicken decoration that we would set on our desk. It was a polite way of telling people that you were busy and cannot be interrupted. So maybe not a silly chicken buy make it fun and tell everyone at home that when it’s on your desk or near you work space that you can’t be interrupted. Also don’t forget to get up and go through your normal routine with getting dressed and eating breakfast just like you would normally. It will help get you motivated for the day.
Make sure you take the time to touch based with your co-workers and your boss several times throughout the day. Using the tools mentioned above can keep people in touch and work moving forward. No it’s not ideal to have to work from home in all situations but you can be productive and stay in touch with people. Besides it might actually bring people together better in different ways.