The current Coronavirus pandemic is making it necessary for most to consider remote-enabling their workforce. Fortunately, technology makes this easier than ever, but that ease also comes with concerns to take into account. For instance, Zoom use has sky-rocketed in recent weeks. Companies communicating about confidential information need to consider the security of the conference and file sharing technologies used. There are a number of popular tools being widely adopted, but without controlled implementation, your company could be putting itself at great risk for data leaks and malware attacks. At the very least, review these tips to secure Zoom meetings. If you need specific guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Beyond the current emergency situation, allowing employees to work remotely can bring many benefits. In a recent Forbes review, it was found that the bottom line is enhanced when companies allow workers to telecommute. Some of the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely:
From an employer’s perspective, the points above make good sense. Over the long haul though, realize that not every personality is a good candidate, nor is every role able to function well in this manner. However, start thinking creatively and you may find ways to give your workforce some remote flexibility. Technology makes so much more possible. For instance, today I was speaking to a call center representative working from home. Twenty years ago, that was cumbersome to do at best. Today, with virtual call centers, it can be as easy as downloading some software to a computer or smart phone. Through software interfaces, managers can monitor user activity. Again, increased productivity is the norm. In the case of the representative I spoke with today, they noted that they often skip breaks, including lunch, because they see incoming calls. Make note of that point.
Having been a part-time telecommuter in a former life, I can attest to most of the above from an employee perspective. I tend to be a very task driven and goal-oriented person—some say I fixate. Those traits can be a blessing and a curse. As noted by the representative I spoke to, some of us can tend to get so engrossed, we forget to get up, have a lunch, work beyond the work day, etc. As the employer or manager, be sure to remind your employees to take those breaks! Indeed, with video conferencing and centralized messaging, it’s easy to reach out to team members on work issues—or to send a carefully chosen video link for a mental break. Work is work, yes, but we all benefit from a breath now and then.
With taking work outside the office, there are risks and implementing an employee handbook as well as security policies is essential—making sure employees are informed and kept up to date on changes. In the case of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and regulations around it, you will want to ensure that you are not exposing your business unintentionally.
What: Determine what processes and systems will be affected.
Who: Who must be notified? Who will be in charge of various points?
When: Timeline and priorities for specific actions.
Where: Where will various tasks, events and operations occur?
How: Determine how various requirements will be met.
Name specific roles and actions for your emergency chain of command.
Assign a team to handle immediate response and employee safety.
Extend communication to include customers, vendors, banking institutions and public agencies.
Run training and Q&A sessions when possible.
Practice your plan in a tabletop simulation.
Regularly update emergency and contact information.
Touch base with banking services and payroll to ensure order.
Assess role changes and update as needed.
Communicate with employees, customers and vendors as needed.
Stay alert. Cybercriminals and fraudsters may attempt to take advantage of sensitive times.
Be empathetic to emotional needs. In some cases, employees may need access to support resources.
Finally, even if people are working from different locations, keep communication open. There may not be a water cooler to gather around, but personal interactions can occur by other means.