As the coronavirus continues to spread, and coronavirus cases in the UK increasing to over 590*, is your business ready to deal with employees having to work from home?
A number of businesses have started advising employees to work from home in the ongoing bid to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Larger companies including Google, JP Morgan and Twitter have released Covid-19 contingency plans to UK-based staff that included compulsory working from home.
What questions should you be asking?
We know this may not be possible for all businesses, but there are a few key questions you will need to think about; What will you do if employees can’t get into the office or their children can’t go to school? Does your business have a work from home plan? How generous will your business be around sick leave?
Requirements which should already be in place include up-to-date emergency contact details, an agreed call-tree for who to contact in the event of a crisis, a health and safety policy that covers employer practices, and a process for providing regular health and safety updates.
Businesses should be carrying out risk assessments and putting plans in place to protect employees’ health, safety and wellbeing during this time.
You need to ask yourself what can your business do to mitigate the requirement for employee isolation due to the spread of the coronavirus? You will need to consider these questions:
- Will you allow remote working for quarantined employees, and what flexibility do you currently allow for this?
- Will the business support any interrupted childcare services or school attendance by allowing parents to work from home?
- Do you have the infrastructure in place to allow your employees to work from home as if they were in the office, to ensure productivity is not affected?
- If there is a major outbreak and remote working becomes necessary, what resources will people need and can your business provide this? For example:
- Laptops for every employee, and other relevant equipment
- Remote access to networks and files with remote cloud systems such as Microsoft 365
- Safeguards for sensitive information, including the use of firewalls and anti-virus software
- Potential subsidised Wi-Fi or mobile costs, your employees will need enough bandwidth (high-speed internet access) to enable working from home
- There needs to be some kind of IT support for remote workers, especially since a lot of employees won’t have done this before.
- How will team members communicate differently with clients? For example, do you have a phone system in place that enables you to redirect client calls.
- How do you manage a virtual workforce to prevent feelings of isolation or the spread of misinformation? Do you have an effective communication channel such as Slack or Microsoft Teams in place?
- Managers will also need to be supported to ensure they feel confident providing information to their teams. For example, if managers haven’t managed remote workforces before, what will you do to upskill them?
Throughout any crisis, communication is always key. You need to provide timely information to employees on the latest developments and let them know who to approach for more information and support, usually your designated HR team.
Reassure both employees and customers of the measures you are taking to ensure employee well-being in the workplace. And, most importantly, demonstrate care and concern to anyone who is confirmed or suspected of infection.
Let us help you with your Covid-19 contingency plan
Our team of IT experts can help prepare you for a potential coronavirus outbreak within your business, with a solid work from home plan and the necessary software and technology upgrades to cause the least disruption to your business.
Why not give our friendly team a call on 0800 001 4199 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help make sure your business is ready, for any eventuality.
About Custard Technical Services
Custard are a team of technicians, engineers, salespeople and directors (but above all, we’re a bunch of geeky gurus).
We’ve got over two decades of experience in the IT industry, delivering friendly jargon-free IT support and services for businesses across the East Midlands and the UK. We are a fast-growing company that support businesses across many different sectors, from manufacturing companies to charities.
We work to create a company culture that sustains a motivated workforce and encourages personal development to ensure our team thrive. Our employees are given opportunities to develop and learn new skills, attend team building events and are awarded for their dedication.
*Numbers confirmed on Friday 13th March 2020.