Lots of you are working from home for the foreseeable future during the COVID-19 pandemic. I've scratched together some bits and pieces together some advice for both employers and employees.
If you are interested in help setting up a secure WAH environment, give us a call. 570-882-8851
Ensure Secure Networking and Communication - This is probably the first thing to ensure when employees are working from home. Please see our post from Friday about companies making it easy to communicate securely and enable people to store and share company documents safely.
Have the proper technology. By this I mean:
Have a properly working computer that has been scanned and cleared of any suspicious apps or programs. This should be a deep dive into the computer, ensuring that there are no rogue processes or unwanted programs that keep track of the user's activities.
Secure your internet connection. Wifi is not as secure as a wired connection. Use a wired connection. Clip that computer directly to the internet.
Make sure that you have a decent webcam and microphone for communication and meetings. Laptops generally have good enough webcams and microphones, desktops generally do not. Generally, you can pick them up at a local super store or order them online with shipping in a couple of days.
Ergonomic workspace The kitchen table or the couch won't do the trick for long term work at home. Getting a good chair with support features is essential. Using the touchpad on your laptop isn't as comfortable as a mouse; Neither is scrunching over to look at the screen from your couch. You might feel comfy on the couch watching Netflix, but it's not going to transfer to work. Bad posture will result in sore backs and aching joints. Your mother was right. Sit up straight.
Privacy within the home. Ensure that kids or pets aren't going to interrupt when meeting with outside customers or co-workers. Yes, you might be able to work in pajama bottoms and a work top, but that's discoverable when you have to stop and chase the barking dog out. You can ensure privacy by something as simple as closing and locking the door. Clear out a room and make it your own.
In addition to all of this, employers should have a policy in place for employees that must work from home or want to work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak. It doesn't have to be fancy, just a simple list of your expectations for communications, security, computer maintenance, and programs/apps that are to be used for work.
The *most important* thing that employers and small business owners can do at this time is to trust your employees. Set a time policy that stresses both not working enough to get things done, or working too much because there is no separation between work and home. Both are detrimental to WAH employees.
Here's a longer list of tips for employees working from home for an extended period of time. The article is at PC Magazine. It was probably written before this crisis began, but it is a very good list.