As companies put emergency remote work policies in place and the workforce shifts toward working-from-home, there are often more questions than answers. Here are a few solutions to the most burning questions about transitioning, implementing, and sustaining a successful remote work program.
Companies should act proactively instead of reactively. Ideally, you want your organization to avoid having any sick employees throughout the pandemic, and the only way to do so is to take swift action. Consider your location, workforce, industry, and capabilities ahead of time, then make an informed decision.
The most successful work-from-home policies start far before a crisis. If you have the time and resources, begin implementing these steps to make the transition to remote work even easier.
Remain clear, concise, and calm at all times, relying on hard facts that can be supported by trusted empirical sources. Stay in constant communication as updates emerge, and be receptive to employee questions and concerns.
Take as many precautions as possible and remember that anything worthwhile is still effective, even if it's only partial. Limit air travel, conferences, outside visitors, and even in-office meetings as best as possible. Urge teams to use video and teleconferencing tools.
Some office staff is essential for maintaining your building. Consider the important roles that administrative staff, groundskeepers, mailroom employees, and other operations positions play; ensure their safety, especially if they need to be on-site.
Not every employee has the at-home infrastructure for a successful remote career. Especially in a time where household finances may become tight, consider providing a reimbursement program or stipend for employees to outfit their space. Remain in constant communication to make sure employee needs are met throughout the remote period.
While employee health should always be a primary consideration, now more than ever, all ill employees should be urged to stay home due to any illness, however unrelated to COVID-19 it may be.
Age has the largest effect on both mortality and morbidity regarding COVID-19; urge staff over 60 years of age to self-quarantine as soon as possible. From there, encourage pregnant employees, those with chronic illnesses, and other immunocompromised individuals to work from home.
Stick to large-scale, largely empirical resources that don’t make assumptions or become overzealous with their data. Several trusted resources, including the CDC, WHO, and SHRM, can be found here.
Certainly. Follow federal and state rules and regulations regarding private health information, mandatory sick pay, FMLA (which does not cover the common flu; however it can possibly cover a longer-term chronic respiratory illness), and all ADA guidelines. Consult your legal team or a corporate lawyer for the most accurate information.
Begin with the same precautions you'd use during any other flu season. Practice excellent hand hygiene (wash with soap and water more often than usual and supplement with hand sanitizer), cough into your elbow, and thoroughly sterilize surfaces in public areas.
CDC recommendations are constantly being updated to reflect the current situation. At this time of updating, it is recommended that a face covering be worn in areas of high community spread, such as grocery stores, public transit, or other group environments.
Printed materials often become lost in the shuffle, no matter where you are. Don't forget the notepads, binders, files, and catalogs you use occasionally. Bring home your peripherals, such as a wireless mouse or keyboard, to prevent fatigue from working day in and day out on a laptop. And, of course, don't forget your charger.
There are endless schools of thought throughout the interior design community, but none suit every situation. Setting up a home office will depend on the size of your space, where you have an area for a desk and storage, and what furniture you need to do your best work.
We can never anticipate when the most trying times will pop up, but we can certainly face these challenges in a way that keeps everybody safe, secure, and productive. During the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, employers and employees have felt immense pressure to keep their staff and themselves safe. This has to begin with taking precautions, whenever necessary, to keep everybody isolated and home-bound.
Perhaps the weather outside is frightful (and your home office is so delightful), you're feeling under a different kind of weather, or there's a global safety concern that could decimate the workforce-- whatever the reason, a work-from-home day might pop up unexpectedly. While fully and partially-remote employees are used to the on-your-own workflow, desk-bound employees might have a harder time adjusting to a different scenery.