Recommendations for a Quick and Effective Work from Home Policy

Businesses globally are putting in place plans to allow for more flexibility for employees and partners to be able to work from home in a connected, mobile world. As IT and HR race to react, here’s a guide to quickly and cost effectively set up and support your team to work from home:

Effectively Communicate Your Policy and Expectations: Clearly and concisely lay out why you’re adopting a work from home policy. Detail how long you expect the policy to be in place, even if that is ‘until further notice’.  Explain the company’s expectations with regards to maintaining office hours and the tools and support in place to help people to continue to work effectively from home.  Be clear about what you are telling customers and suppliers and who is responsible for communicating your policy to your external stakeholders.

Internal Communication: For most people a laptop, the ability to speak to colleagues, and access to essential documents is enough to work from home efficiently. Something like Microsoft Teams can be a cost-effective option to get homeworkers up and running quickly, and if your company uses Office 365, you’ll have access to it already as its part of the product bundle. Teams gives colleagues a modern alternative to in-office working with access to shared documents, the ability to instant message, and even speak to each other face-to-face on group video calls. Essentially, all the collaboration benefits you get from office working but from the comfort of home.

External Communication: Voice is an essential consideration for employees who work with external stakeholders. SIPPIO Voice is a cloud voice product that puts voice into Microsoft Teams. It enables employees to speak with people outside of their organization as easily as they speak with colleagues. With no set-up costs and no fixed contract, it can be activated in minutes and turned off equally as quick. It works on desk phones, laptops, mobiles or tablets, meaning users can take and receive calls wherever and however they want for ultimate flexibility, making it a perfect solution for IT teams and their internal stakeholders.

Security and Compliance: Depending on the industry and country in which you operate, you may need to adhere to certain security and compliance regulations. These won’t change if your team is working remotely. Microsoft Teams is built on the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, so it has advanced security and compliance capabilities built-in. It’s also HIPAA (the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant. SIPPIO Voice offers compliance with all major security standards, survivability and quality of service, and can deliver guaranteed voice functions across the enterprise network, even in adverse conditions. Voice recording and a host of add-on voice functionality is also available.

Manager Communication: Work from home has many benefits, but it can also take some adjustment.  Brief managers on the importance of proactively checking-in with their team. A short daily group conference, or one-to-one catch ups keep teams connected, collaborating and on-track. Managers must also lead by example. For your work from home policy to be successful, employees must see it being actioned from the top down. Managers should also quickly provide feedback when standard work from home issues: dogs barking, doorbells ringing, wearing PJs or ball caps occur before they become a cultural nuisance.

Precautionary measures against any business risk make sound moral and business sense. I hope this proves a useful guide to quickly and cost effectively protect your employees, your customers and your business.

Dawn-Marie Elder is COO at SIPPIO.