We want to share how our company transitioned all activities from the office to work from home. We are aware that by operating in the IT sector, we are one of those fortunate companies that were able to move their workspace online relatively quickly and efficiently. It also helped that we already had a few online tools in place. We just needed to start using them more or using them at all. As company leadership put it, this was a great opportunity to test our ability to adapt and adopt the tools necessary for flexible forms of work in the future.
So, what exactly did we do?
1. First of all, we asked all employees who were returning from higher risk areas to work from home. We wanted to increase the safety of our employees and reduce any anxiety. Following the aggravation of the situation, we followed the work from home example with all employees. The HR department informed everyone of this decision promptly and calmly and provided clear instructions.
2. Employees were instructed not to come to the office and to work from home, to reduce the possibility of spreading potential infections. In case an employee did not have access to essential equipment (such as a laptop), they were to inform their manager or HR department. Since most employees had access to a home computer they could log in to different cloud-based services through their home machines.
3. Of course, not all activities could be moved online. Some departments, e.g. reception, warehouse, and support facilities were organized into smaller shifts or even one-man-band teams. The warehouse introduced mandatory contactless courier pick-ups.
4. All physical visits were prohibited and redirected to phone or online tools (Skype or Microsoft Teams). This also includes all demonstrations of our products. As far as hardware is concerned, we have directed our customers to make purchases through webshop and process delivery via courier.
5. Before launching work from home, we roughly prioritized the activities of each department. Sometimes this meant attending to activities that are often overlooked – consolidating company procedures, preparing documentation, etc. Work from home can be useful for accomplishing tasks and activities that are often strategic but have lesser immediate importance due to tactical priorities. Every employee identified such tasks in collaboration with their manager and compiled a list of work activities that they would undertake. We are using My Hours (a sister product of All Hours) to track time spent on these activities.
6. The HR department also recommended employees invest some time in our personal development: read a book or article in the area of expertise or area of interest. The company would provide resources for purchases or subscriptions.
7. Company management entrusted employees with the skills of self-management, creativity, and self-initiative, and encouraged us to remain well connected online through our usual channels of communication: Microsoft Outlook, Skype and Microsoft Teams.
8. Every Monday at 2:00 pm, a joint meeting is organized for all employees to stay in touch. In this meeting we share important information and news, highlight the potential challenges we have encountered, as well as good practices and words of encouragement.
9. Given that many employees are also taking care of their children at home, it was also emphasized that they do not have to be burdened by them being loud during meetings, as this is completely understandable. If we are interrupted by our children during work (or a meeting), we excuse ourselves and take care of the situation at home. Employees were also encouraged to introduce the children to the team on video calls – this way the kids feel more included and have some much needed fun.
10. At work from home, we continue to record working hours and absences with All Hours, which allows web and mobile clocking. Each employee can also see which of his or her co-workers is currently available and who is absent. This has made our communication even easier.
We believe that by the end of this crisis we will be able to draw some useful experiences and conclusions for the future and above all, we are doing everything we can to protect the weakest individuals in our society. If we can help you in any way, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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