As the coronavirus crisis deepens, many workers have already been forced out of the office. The situation is unpredictable, and it’s possible that organizations will have to work remotely. Not all jobs can be done from home, but the best way to ride out the disruption of an office closure is to make sure that everyone who can work remotely is prepared. Follow these five tips to minimize disruption for your business.

1. Provide the right tools

Make sure your employees have access to all the right equipment to set up a workstation at home. This can include things like laptops, webcams, headsets, etc. Because you might need to go remote at short notice, encourage everyone to take this equipment home with them every night – and remind them to take their power cord too!

2. Set up remote access

Along with hardware, employees need to be able to access the files, data, apps and software they need remotely. Make sure there’s a secure cloud service in place to allow remote access to files, and reliable ways for employees to store and distribute whatever they’re working on.

3. Set expectations

If remote working is new for your organization, explain what you expect from employees. Do you want everyone to work the same hours as they would in the office? Let them know. If employees should still notify you of formal sick days when unwell, even if they’re working from home, tell them that. Remote working can feel like a big change, so be explicit about how it’s going to happen.

4. Be flexible

At the same time, the nature of coronavirus disruption means you might have to be more flexible than usual. For example, if your office is closed, there’s a good chance that local schools might be out of action too. That means your employees could need flexibility to look after children. Communicate clearly, and prepare to work with people to minimize disruption.

5. Get connected

Employees still need to connect with each other. Make sure everyone has a reliable internet connection at home, and if they don’t, look at ways you can help. You’ll need a secure, reliable collaboration solution too. Everyone should be able to communicate as easily as in the office, so make sure you can support ad hoc and scheduled video meetings, chat and content sharing. It can be harder to keep track of projects and progress remotely, so suggest managers and teams catch up via video regularly.

With these tips, you can make work something you do, not somewhere you go, to protect your productivity while looking after your workforce.

Some remote work techniques are harder to implement than others, but getting an enterprise-grade collaboration solution that you can deploy instantly is easy. StarLeaf is ISO/IEC 27001 certified for data security, covered by a 99.999% uptime guarantee, and is free to use on desktop and mobile during the coronavirus crisis. You can schedule and host meetings, make quick video and voice calls, communicate via messaging and share content.

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