Global businesses have shifted to working remotely while we all stay home to fight the spread of coronavirus. Reliant remains operating from a fully work-from-home environment with only select employees regularly checking on our office space. We partner with leading national and global enterprises, so when Reliant leadership developed a remote work policy specific to our current climate, we considered key categorical objectives specific to our employees and our mission critical projects and client communication efforts. We hope you find this list useful if you’re challenged with managing a remote, global team. Feel free to reach out on our contact form with any questions.
Home Office/Work Environment Considerations
- Ensure each employee communicates his or her business specific requirements/preferences for a private, quiet workspace and consider how you can provide what he or she needs.
- Discuss with teammates your requirements/recommendations for setting up an ergonomically correct and productive workstation.
- Ensure your employees have access to essential office equipment
- Employee’s personal devices vs company equipment – set out minimum requirements for personal devices along with power cords and other accessories for company equipment
- Provide monitors to employees working from laptops, as laptop monitors are too small for long-term use with employees who typically use multiple monitors in the office
- Assess each employee’s need for equipment or apps to print, fax, scan important documents
- Provide boxes and packing materials for employees to properly pack company equipment and transport home (and return to the office) with no damage
- Update inventory to reflect company equipment “checked out” for employee use at home – Ideally (and if logistically feasible), have employees sign for it or electronically confirm.
- Consider asking employees to report their personal internet provider (broadband, DSL, wireless vs wired, mobile data) and ensure it houses the minimum speed requirements for download and upload.
- Verify employee’s personal internet speed with online speed test results that show download and upload speeds
- Consider company-provided mobile hotspots (or something similar) to provide reliable internet access – there could be possible limitations due to hotspot provider’s coverage in employee’s home.
Phone Calls/ Call Center Etiquette
- Determine and implement requirements/preferences regarding landline, VOIP, or cell usage.
- Call Center Software – determine a softphone app available for phone reps to receive/make calls using Call Center Software from remote location. There are a few viable options on the market
- Ensure your employees perform test calls to verify call quality/sound
- Ensure employees get callback numbers from the recipient at beginning of call in case call drops
- Consider the privacy of employee personal phone numbers by considering how to keep customers only calling employer phone numbers
- Ask employees to acknowledge their temporary remote work situation with the recipient, as possible background noise may affect the quality of the call
Reliant’s guidance to Support: If callers may hear people, pets, or outside noise in your background, please tell them, “As part of Reliant’s response to the coronavirus, I am working from home. Please excuse the sounds you hear in my background.”
- Implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy on what is accessible and acceptable via personal devices
- Ensure you have a VPN in place for employees to connect to employer’s network for certain applications
- Outline requirements regarding use of public WIFI
- Ensure your employees know how to protect confidential files/records/paperwork IF allowed/needed to take home
- Check for PCI compliance for call reps who take payments over the phone
- Be Proactive about Phishing Scams:
CIO magazine reports that scammers are initiating phishing attacks that lure users into clicking on malicious links and sharing confidential information. Snow Software’s Alastair Pooley says that his company is repelling several coronavirus-themed phishing scams. The concern is that employees preoccupied with switching between chat and email may get tripped up and click on an email with a message payload. “It’s a sad indictment on the criminals … but I suppose that’s why they’re criminals,” Pooley says.
- Without usual visibility of being in the office, you may need people to announce when they arrive, leave and return from breaks/lunch, and leave for the day. Reliant support reps do this in a slack channel, so we avoid too many people taking break/lunch at the same time, and so we know why a specific person has not responded to a particular request.
- Determine how to monitor/measure progress of work to be completed
- Determine how to monitor/measure “attendance”
- Ensure your employees (especially those less technically trained) know how to download and use specific software or apps to join phone/video conference meetings for real-time communication between employees and external customers.
- Check in often with your employees through virtual happy hours or one-on-one conversations. Anxiety runs high right now surrounding the current climate, so virtual touch points should be conducted often from company leadership.
- Determine which employees, if any, will still be allowed to access the office for regular check-in, maintenance reporting, plant watering, kitchen cleanliness and the like (empty out that kitchen refrigerator!)
- Make sure anyone allowed to access the office knows how to arm and disarm the security system
- Consider reducing or canceling cleaning crew – do not cancel if people will still be in office; need to empty trash (particularly food) and keep bathroom supplies stocked
- Cancel or reschedule any scheduled maintenance
- Verify office maintenance options for emergency needs (heat/air conditioning not working, water off or water leaking, door or window broken, etc.)
While a business continuity checklist is different for each company, we hope you find our list helpful during these trying times. As CIO magazine reports, it is critical that CIOs not let COVID-19 stop them from pursuing their IT strategies and critical objectives in support of digital business growth. A successful business continuity plan that is tested regularly is your first line of defense in our global transition to working remotely.