Telecommuting tips: The go-to business continuity plan during the coronavirus outbreak

Monday April 20th, 2020

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

More than 90% of respondents to a Citrix survey said they would work from home more often if they were granted the leeway by their employers to do so. But under normal economic and public health conditions, less than one-third of workers are able to work remotely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current guidance, however, encourages businesses to allow as much of their workforce to telecommute as possible. This directive is enforced unevenly by states and employers, creating variability in who can work from home based on the industry and region in which businesses operate. 

 

COVID-19 has accelerated the charge toward a distributed workforce, forcing employers’ hands and leaving them to put into place contingency and continuity plans quickly. These plans are essentially insurance against near-term risk and can also be blueprints for long-term success.

Reducing staff-to-staff transmission 

With staff working from home, there’s less chance of a highly contagious illness infecting and spreading through a sizable portion of the labor force. This can equate to fewer unexpected absences, less downtime, healthier staff members, and reduced health care costs.

Maximizing on-the-clock productivity 

Workers doing their jobs from the confines of their own homes can design their own habitats - ones that work best for them in all facets. If someone is an early riser, they’re free to sign on at a time that’s matched to their productivity and motivation levels - not an arbitrary 9-5 schedule.

And while there are surely at-home disruptions (children, pets, wandering attention, etc.), there are similar disturbances in the office, too: chatty co-workers; general volume, temperature and lighting issues; poor ambiance and the social pressure to “look busy.”

As working remotely is normalized, employees can optimize their days to be as productive as possible.

Digitizing and automating older workflows

For companies diving headfirst into the world of telecommuting, they may find that some of their core processes don’t compute.

A distributed workforce means employees need access to a tech stack that is comparable to what they’re used to in the office, including conferencing tools, malware prevention software, company intranet and portals, plug-ins and saved passwords. Paper documentation, in-person meetings and any “physical” processes must of course be migrated to a work-from-home model as well.

Adjusting to the new and away from the old may uncover job tasks that are redundant or workflows that are sloppy at best. Telecommuting offers a way to digitize what works and scrap what doesn’t.

Leveraging first-mover advantage

Businesses that acted early in their transition to a remote workforce may benefit from a first-mover advantage, while competitors are stuck trying to figure out logistics and calculate whether they can or should telecommute.

Moving remote effectively serves to future-proof your company not only from the coronavirus crisis but, really, any crisis of a similar scale - tomorrow and every day after.

Innovating new communication and collaboration channels

Even in the absence of formal guidance from management or human resources, employees will inevitably find ways to streamline their output and make their workdays as seamless as possible. Some tools and resources are available as standalone solutions, although these often come with a steeper learning curve, particularly among those in your workforce that aren’t as familiar with technology.

The opportunity to launch tools and software is endless in a remote work environment because it’s a business imperative to do so. Finding the right balance of technology to power end-to-end telecommuting is a task that should be personalized to each business. With iSolved, a robust human capital management solution, your employees are already familiar with the interface and functionality. Adding in additional tools and resources flattens the learning curve while keeping team members connected and in sync, no matter where they’re working from.

iSolved handles back-office functions like HR, finance, payroll, benefits administration and workforce management, as well as social-centric engagement functions. Your employees can ask for help, praise one another, and collaborate on projects from anywhere. Additional functions include learning management, compliance with all the latest regulations, and support with HR to-dos and tasks.