News 16/03/2020 by "Rachel McCarthy"

How to Successfully Continue Working Through A Pandemic

It’s fair to say that not a single person in Australia today is unaware of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus). So far, our confirmed cases are rather mild in comparison to other parts of the world, but still of great concern and quickly increasing, necessitating hefty precautions to safeguard our health and exposure to people and places where the virus may be.

The last week, in particular, has seen an outbreak of chaos amongst citizens. Toilet paper is on rations as the Government is urging anyone who has been in contact with someone confirmed to have coronavirus or anyone who has been to high-risk countries, to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

HQ Lights Go Out

As this fear mounts and the cases increase, businesses are forced to revisit their work from home procedures. Google’s HQ in Dublin told Twitter employees to work from home until further notice and here in Australia OMD, Foxtel Media, and Vodafone, all in Sydney, have sent staff home because of coronavirus concerns. 

While Twitter and OMD have the mechanisms that allow staff to work from home, many businesses do not. Those who were slow to get on board with flexible working arrangements are likely to suffer as this situation worsens. 

It’s never been a more pressing time to put your WFH (work from home) arrangements in place. Keeping your staff feeling safe and comfortable while ensuring output and productivity keep the business above board. 

WFH How-To

We are more reliant on technology than ever before; this should be the case for every office-based business. If that’s so, you should already have the foundations to facilitate staff working from home. 

Those who already have staff laptops and systems access via those laptops are ready to let people go home. Those who do not should be investing in setting this up immediately, to ensure no more downtime is taken than absolutely necessary. 

Any individual or business looking to make sure they have the right measures in place to be able to work wherever and whenever, will need the following: 

Video Conferencing

There are so many tools — Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack video conferencing, and many more — which allow you to keep up team meetings while everyone is at home or working remotely. This should really be something that is introduced as a first step to minimise staff gathering in close proximity when it is not necessary. 

WFH Setups

This includes good technology (computers and whatever other tech tools may be required for particular roles), internet connection and VPN where necessary. 

Remote Access

Businesses need to support employees with laptops, cloud-based databases and whatever other remote access tools to ensure that staff can find everything they need to complete their work away from the office. 

This is precisely the time that businesses should be focussing on: 

Writing WFH Policies

If you haven’t already got them, it should be a top priority to look at writing WFH policies or flexible options. Consider which roles need to be in the office, which can be done from home, what the expectations are in WFH situations, and what the business needs to do to support this. 

Hiring Right

This is the time where you will have to trust your employees. It will be a testament to whether or not you’ve hired the right people that you can trust to work from wherever and get the job done. It will also be a good lesson on the kind of characteristics you will want to look for in any current or future hires. 

The coronavirus is expected to stay in circulation for some time still. With this, we expect to see a sharp increase in WFH situations. This is going to be hard on businesses. But none more so than those who wait too late to implement the right WFH measures. 

This is a great time to find out how to make yourself indispensable within your organisation. For support on how to effectively set up WFH procedures, or to find staff with the discipline and focus to work from home, get in touch with us today.