Remote Working

Last Updated: 25th June 2020

COVID-19 lockdowns have forced many businesses to close their offices and instead manage operations from the lounge-rooms and kitchen tables of staff members homes. Employers and employees alike have had mixed reactions to this move and it has presented several challenges many organisations have found themselves unprepared for.

IT

When a large percentages of a businesses workforce work from home, this can place the businesses IT systems under increased strain. Increased traffic can overload corporate intranets, and tie business productivity to things like the quality of staff members home internet connections. COVID-19 is causing many businesses to invest more in IT equipment, software and advice. Popular areas include:

Reliability

  • Increasing capacity of servers and other technology products to increase the number of staff able to simultaneously access key services remotely.
  • Increasing system reliability of IT systems to reduce the likelihood of systems going offline and causing staff to be unable to work.
  • Improving speeds to increase remote workers efficiency and productivity.

Security

  • Implementing additional security measures to ensure confidential or sensitive information isn't vulnerable to the increased security risks that come from remote work.
  • Implementing alternatives to Zoom or Skype to prevent others monitoring your meetings.
  • Improving security audit trails to more robustly cover different working from home scenarios.
  • Considering how having less staff in your head office may make IT infrastructure there more vulnerable.

New Tech

  • Exploring or introducing new technology solutions to improve remote working admin or operational tasks.
  • Exploring or introducing new technology to better engage with or support customers during COVID-19 times.

HR

Management

Managing staff remotely presents unique challenges. Many tools and techniques don't translate to Zoom meetings or remote interactions, and the inability to directly observe staff performance is of frustration too many managers. Managers have explored:

  • Implementing new management approaches to motivate and inspire staff.
  • Developing new initiatives to increase solidarity, loyalty, and any other values core to the organisations culture.
  • Implementing new solutions to monitor and evaluate staff performance.

Wellbeing

The wellbeing of staff directly correlates to business performance. When staff wellbeing is high, it can reduce internal conflicts whilst at the same time increase output quality and quantity. COVID-19 presents an increased likelihood staff wellbeing could be effected. To reduce this risk, businesses have explored:

  • Provide staff resources to improve their physical or mental health. These could include a company subscription to online fitness programs, mental health training programs or counselling resources.
  • Allowing extra time each week for debriefs and check-ins.
  • Implementing fitness challenges or competitions with weekly prizes.
  • Reducing staff anxiety levels by providing job certainty, safety or security.
  • Providing extra support to those with kids at home.
  • Proactively providing resources in case any staff is experiencing domestic violence or other forms of home challenges.

Compliance

Many businesses have also been forced to think about new areas of compliance not previously considered:

  • Does the business have an appropriate Working From Home policy in the organisation's staff or safety manual?
  • Has the business effectively navigated any working from home intricacies for staff covered by awards?
  • Does the business need to make any changes to its insurance?

Processes

Both administrative and operational activities are impacted as staff work from home. Offline systems may not work out of the office, whilst online systems might not be fully accessible remotely. Whilst COVID-19 has disrupted many existing processes, it has also presented the opportunity to create new processes and systems to improve business efficiency and resilience. Businesses have therefore explored:

  • Creating new processes to replace existing processes that don't work remotely.
  • Developing new more efficient ways of working.
  • Exploring and implementing new online solutions to better:
  • Manage tasks
  • Manage timelines
  • Enable collaboration
  • Track staff time spent on tasks
  • Manage resources
  • Communicate with clients

Hire Support

For those after more tailored and in depth support, why not chat to one of these quality Australian businesses and see if you think they could help your business at this time.

Pay it Forward

Why not consider how you could lend your own experience to support a business leader or business through COVID-19. Your local council, state or federal member may be able to connect you with someone. Alternatively you can explore other ways of supporting others through the Get Involved page.

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