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How To Make Homeworking Work For Businesses

Communication

Ensure staff understand communication is fundamental to any organisation but more so when working from home. There are lots of web conferencing and collaboration options:

  • Microsoft Teams, we use MS Teams, it is free with some Microsoft subscriptions (you would need to check which subscription you have) but it offers great functions such as multiple person online meetings (from in and outside your organisation), which are recorded and can be shared and accessed by absent staff, screen shares, instant chat, file sharing and collaboration. It can also be downloaded as an app to your mobile phone
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • What's App video calling
  • Apps - take a look at the apps available to support home working: www.techagainstcoronavirus.com

Potential Problems

Company owners should ask staff to highlight any potential problems:

  • Broadband speed?
  • Do they have a phone they can use and what cost implications will this have?
  • Can they fully access work server or software?
  • Do they have children or dependants at home that could be a possible distraction?

Health and Safety

H&S still needs to be met, the HSE website has a vast range of help, see https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm.


Ensure Staff Know What is Expected of Them

  • Make sure the staff understand their day to day responsibilities
  • How they should communicate problems
  • What to do if their manager is unavailable
  • Who their chain of command is
  • Understand That Things May Not Run as Normal
  • Reassure staff that in the uncertainty we are now in that their normal, daily routine may not run as smoothly as it did and that you understand this. It will take time to adapt and unknown problems may surface.
  • Or, the situation could be great for business and the staff become more productive knowing they are trusted to work on their own!

Online Security


Is incredibly important, unfortunately there seems to already be people taking advantage of the situation. The Thames Valley Police Cyber Protect Team has guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is respect of employees working from home during the COVID-19 crisis.

An NCSC spokesperson said: 


“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.”

Please visit www.ncsc.gov.uk for further guidance on home working and mobile devices.

Advice for Employees Working From Home


It is important for staff to look after yourself, keep your routine as normal as possible as if you were in the workplace. 

  • Note that if there are a few people connected to your broadband, this could slow it down so think about how this can be managed
  • Be open and honest with your manager of any limitations so they know how to best support you
  • Stay in regular contact. There is a lot of trust placed on individuals working from home so ensure your manager knows you are doing what you should be. It also helps with social contact as working from home can feel isolation
  • Remember to take breaks, step away from your desk and get fresh air if you can
  • Keep fluids up
  • Your mental health is vital, there are a lot of websites that have support and advice available, try www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
  • Minimise distractions
  • Separate your work and leisure area
  • Ensure you get the work done

Bucks Business First is offering Growth Grants of up to £5,000 to support homeworking software, you need to be a member of BBF to apply for this grant, please see https://bbf.uk.com/ for more details.



 

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