Helping teams go remote
Ensuring that teams transitioning to remote working are aligned and understand their responsibilities is even more critical given that ad hoc day to day communication may appear more difficult, particularly in the context of a crisis and a business that may be in survival mode.
Develop a work from home policy template setting out expectations and parameters. This should cover: communications, necessary homeworking equipment, triggers for mandatory home working, work/life balance, information confidentiality and security policies.
Develop a remote onboarding process checklist for new staff: set out expectations and goals, over-communicate with new remote employees, encourage peer mentoring, produce an onboarding to-do list for new employees to complete before starting, on first day, on first week.
Develop a mental health and wellness checklist for remote workers emphasising key principles: creating a clear schedule with breaks, remaining physically active, finding a support system.
Develop shared monthly, weekly and daily work schedules for remote teams identifying project milestones and time slots for key activities and breaks.
Key remote working challenges for IT leaders and how to address them
The COVID-19 crisis has forced businesses across the world into the largest work-from-home experiment to date. In the tourism industry as elsewhere, IT leaders are pivotal in allowing the work of companies that does not rely on direct physical contact with customers to continue. You company’s IT infrastructure needs to be resilient enough, and employees need to feel supported as they move their working lives out of the office and online faster than ever imagined.
Ensure IT infrastructure can cope with the switch to remote working and that you have enough bandwidth to support VPN and remote desktop access. Consider offering reimbursement for employees who have to spend extra money on their home broadband in order to do more video conferencing.
Prepare for a surge in hardware support requests given the likelihood that work laptops are at greater risk of damage at employees’ homes. Talk to your vendor support team to ensure you can get help when needed.
Make no concessions on cyber security. Ensure employees have security concerns top of mind given the increased likelihood of phishing, ransomware and other risks during this period. Ensure employees remember to update their VPN passwords to maintain access.
Ensure adequate tools for online collaboration are supplied – focus on video conferencing, phones, file sharing and team messaging. Have a backup provider available to avoid crashes and conflicts.
Do not assume everyone knows the basics. Be prepared to explain to employees how to set up a video call, or how to deal with poor reception. Be prepared to handle urgent requests of all kinds.
Develop strong disaster-recovery plans for the next time. Make a note of your company’s weak spots, work through different scenarios and highlight the areas that need better planning, so that you can pay more attention to your employees.
Sustained remote working: can you answer these questions?
The sudden nature of the COVID-19 crisis has forced many businesses to direct those of their employees that can do their jobs from home to do so – but remote working is now likely to become a fundamental part of business continuity planning. With more employees working remotely on a more long-term basis, can you answer the following questions?
- Do you need to vary the employment contract?
- Are your health and safety practices and policies adequate as your employees work from home?
- Are there specific regulatory notifications or requirements that need to be complied with?
- Is appropriate technology and infrastructure available to your staff – and who should be paying for tools like home internet, printers or secure document destructions?
- If your confidential information and intellectual property sufficiently protected as the lines between home and work become increasingly blurred?
- Have you updated your IT policies and practices to reflect the increased usage of online tools and applications for communications and document sharing and signing?
- Do your remote working policies or requirements on matters like childcare arrangements, work expenses or the recording of working hours need amending?
- Are your staff performance metrics appropriate and fully reflective of contribution with less face to face time?
- How can you maintain the engagement of your teams and a strong corporate culture?