We have just conducted a survey of all our people to ask them how they want to work in the future, and it turns out that only 2% wanted to return to full-time office working, 37% wanted a mix of home and office and the remaining 61% wanted to work from home. So, it looks like for us at least, home working is here to stay!
I've been thinking about the 5 key areas that will make permanent working from home successful. Look out for the related blog links which are packed with useful information.
We're all social creatures and there is no doubt that the one thing most of us miss about working in an office is being around other people. This is hard to do if your workforce is widely dispersed. Our team of Cultural Ambassadors meets regularly to look at ways to keep the team morale going.
- Regular team chats and huddles online.
- Turn the video on – whether it be Teams, Zoom or Webex it’s much better if you can see a face.
- Set dates for regular face to face meetups people can look forward to. Why not meet for a walk and talk.
- Fun and Games – get creative, work is social so mix it up with activities like a fun quiz or a team exercise class like Yoga.
The UK broadband network has held up very well through the crisis, but some people may be stretched due to slow speeds or contention with other family members. Connectivity and Support is essential so consider installing a business line for your key people.
- Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) / Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) are the best option – 5g is some way off for most of us.
- Separate your home and work network if you can – better routers might help.
- Mobile backup for key workers – keep some dongles spare to send for those with longer-term issues.
If you allow your people to use their home equipment to access your network then you need to be extra careful. Home equipment is extremely vulnerable. Also remember that maintaining and supporting lots of different equipment, with different operating systems is time-consuming and expensive – and downtime is a bigger problem if your staffing is tight.
- Consider Virtual Desktop as an alternative – keeps work and home separate and reduces IT support challenges.
- Set up standard builds and spares – the more simplicity the better as variety may be the spice of life but it’s not great for IT.
Your Cybersecurity has never been more important. Having users who are not behind your central firewall and giving access to devices that may have dubious governance is creating a great opportunity for hackers and ransomware.
- AV and Endpoint – make sure all your devices are protected – don’t leave it up to the user.
- Move to the cloud – moving data into the cloud allows you to protect your data using built-in security – it is also easier to Backup and Secure.
- Patch, patch, patch – be obsessive about keeping operating systems and software up to date.
Ultimately the wellbeing of your people and the morale of your company is down to you. We all may have to change our leadership style to deal with the new circumstances.
- More is more: what used to work doesn’t necessarily work now – over-communicate if you have to as it is so easy for people to become isolated and demotivated and to lose that sense of shared purpose that drives so many businesses.
- 121s and huddles are great – but make the time for regular interaction with your people – find out if they are coping and help them. At Chess, we use an app called Engage Your People to support our engagement and analytics.
- Empathy: you may well be coping fine with the new world but lots of your people probably aren’t. Make sure you try to understand and help. A leader’s job is to Focus Inspire Motivate and Guide their people.
- Training: People feel more comfortable when they know how to do something properly, they may need training if you are asking them to do more from home.
- Embrace technology – it can really help bridge the gap – but only if you use it.
What may have been seen as a temporary way of working in March is probably here for the future. If you don’t always see the way forward then remember people like Chess are here to help, whether that be on a case by case basis or if you want help to build your strategy going forward.
If you need access to an expert, without the need to employ your own, speak to your account manager, contact our Sales Team or log a query through our Customer Portal as we have a range of options that can help.