With Victoria in lockdown and the NSW Government announcement of increased lock down measures on Saturday and the introduction of $10,000 fines if employees are found at work who can do their roles from home, we wanted to provide some guidance around the various ways you can keep your staff connected and productive while working from home.
The first step is getting connected to your business systems. The platforms you utilize, how modern your design is and whether your employees have existing devices at home will determine which path you need to take. We at RODIN are big on the Modern Workplace design, allowing your employees to securely work from anywhere, on any device and have helped many businesses move to this model, but we also appreciate there are situations where you still rely on your office based platforms. Below we will discuss some options that can help during lock downs.
- Remotely accessing the office based computer.
This is still a very common method for working from home. Whether your business use desktop based computers instead of laptops, or you are still running in more traditional environment where “on-premise” servers are providing applications within the office, giving employees the ability to “remotely control” their office based desktops can be achieved in a number of ways. We recommended utilizing the same technology we use to remotely support your staff, because it’s secure, easy to set up, allow them to work from any device and we are offering access to this platform at no cost during the pandemic.
- Taking computer equipment home from the office.
While this needs to be managed carefully to ensure assets are not lost, it is another viable option if there is not already suitable devices at home. Unless you are already utilizing a Modern Workplace design talking directly to the cloud, you will likely need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) configured for that device to remotely connect to the business network, so the device can operate as it normally does “inside the office”. While VPN capacity needs to be considered if there is an influx of devices doing this (licenses and bandwidth), this is something RODIN can assist with extremely easily.
- Working on personal devices in a “Modern Workplace” design.
When moving to a Modern Workplace, you gain the benefits of your core systems running in the cloud, disconnecting you from any “internal” servers or legacy software. Combining this design and providing employees with portable devices such as laptops allow them to work from anywhere. In this design, users can log into business systems from any device, meaning they can work from home on personal devices without much needing to change at all. For some, it’s as easy as heading to https://office.com and logging in. When RODIN implements a modern workplace system, we recommend implementing restrictions on personal devices to keep business data safe, meaning staff can work from personal devices if needed, but are normally restricted to utilizing web browsers for certain tasks. While this works great for casual access and keeping data safe, in situations such as COVID-19 lock downs, it may restrict users from full productivity. We can lift these restrictions on a case by case basis, and if you are interested in this, please reach out to us, so we can discuss the risks with you before making that decision.
Staying Engaged And Connected With The Team
Once people are online from home, it can be a significant change to get use to and understanding how to stay connected with team members is important. Every business and role is different, but below are some suggestions that can help.
- Meet regularly, using video calls.
With video calls a click away in Microsoft Teams, a quick 10 minute catch up each morning with your team can go a long way. Check in, identify if anyone is having issues, ensure goals are being achieved and arrange other meetings and support as needed. And at the end of the week, who doesn’t enjoy virtual drinks?
- Embrace chat and instant message, over email.
Lets face it, we all get enough emails as it is. Moving general office conversations and quick questions into email just makes it worse and is not the fastest way to get help. Teams gives you both instant one on one or group messaging, as well as “chat room” style areas to collaborate together in channels.
- Don’t overdo it.
Just because people are working from home, they still need space to concentrate. You wouldn’t call when you could text, and you wouldn’t book a meeting room when you could send an email. Stay engaged, but don’t cause video call fatigue because it’s only a click away.
Get The Equipment You Need To Be Comfortable
It’s important to ensure you are set up for success. Trying to do a day of work while lying sideways on the lounge with the laptop in front of you and Netflix in the background isn’t going to work, so be realistic about your surroundings.
- Find a comfortable, quiet working space so you can concentrate.
This tip alone may cause you to get more work done than usual.
- Ensure you have a good chair.
Grabbing the camp chair from the garage won’t help your back, even if you use your children’s toy kitchen as a stand up desk from time to time.
- Use a headset, or good quality pair of headphones with a microphone.
Laptop’s have built in microphones and speakers, but background noise can hurt everyone else on the call. If you don’t have access to this, then find the mute button, and mute yourself when you are not talking. The company doesn’t need to hear your dog barking.
- Multiple screens help!
If you have access to an additional screen, plug it in. If you are a laptop user, external keyboards, mice and laptop stands all go a long way when working long periods of time at home. USB docks can make it easy to plug all of these things in if you don’t have enough ports on your laptop.
Whatever your requirements, RODIN can help get you and your team connected and efficient from home. We have more information available on our Working From Home Support Information Page.
Please ensure you are following the health advice and most importantly, stay safe.