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Working From Home
With the global coronavirus pandemic, people have to stay at home. So working from home (WFH) is becoming mainstream. More people are discovering what working from home is, and its implications to them and job performance.
WFH or remote working has been very common, especially for gig workers and for global teams in MNC companies. So there are many tools and systems available to enable working from home for employees.
Below is a common list of questions, of frequently asked questions (FAQ) on WFH implications. Do adjust as required for your organization’s culture and capabilities.
WFH and Remote Working FAQs
WFH means your home is now your workplace. You do not go to the official workplace, the office building, worksite or factory. It also means, no one can effectively see what you are actually doing. It also means that work becomes very much about the quality of the work done and delivered, versus hours worked.
WFH means reporting for work still happens. In other words, WFH means that monitoring your presence at work, will happen. You are being paid to work. This has been going on in the gig economy for the last 10 years, where freelancers are monitored using tracking tools to justify the hours they are claiming.
Its required if its hourly work, paid on the basis of hours worked, like a normal clock in. And if it’s frontline work based on shifts, like customer service and contact center jobs.
Not actually needed if the work is results based. A modern corporate culture in a company will focus on performance. Which means, if you do not clock in the hours worked, then you have to deliver to agreed performance standards. Usually office workers in scheduling, finance, accounting, marketing, design, software, IT and most management levels.
Turn around times (TAT) are a key performance indicator (KPI) of performance especially for remote work. If the task requires 6 hours to complete, than that should be the TAT, i.e., TAT = 6 hours for that task. Do factor in expected wait times from other contributors to the task. The competency and experience of the staff has an impact on the TAT. The second KPI would be number of rework done to get an acceptable quality of that task result. This usually depends on the quality of communications and clarity of the scope of work for the task. Project, industrial and production managers are great at calculating this.
Any worker who needs to use specific machinery, tools or works on a production line. Usually workers directly in production, quality control and assurance, warehouse, facilities, transportation and site security. And any worker who needs to be at specific locations, like technicians to repair and restore an equipment failure on site.
Habitual behaviours in response to a familiar space. Habits automatically guide behaviours. Employees need to guard against automated behaviours at home during work time. Family members may interrupt the work as they seek the attention of the employee. Usually small children and the elderly. The other issue is the distraction to do other things, as formal work structure and observation is not in place. And thirdly, noise and discomfort in the home or neighbourhood.
1. A high speed broadband and consistent internet connection.
2. A dedicated workspace isolated from the rest of the family members at home
3. A computer or laptop connected to the internet
4. A smartphone to enable flexibility in movement yet remain accessible
5. Collaboration tools to work together with teams, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Slack
6. Cloud storage for file sharing such as Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive
7. Highly secure enterprise grade cloud file storage such as SharePoint or OneDrive
8. Task assignment and tracking such as Trello, Asana or Microsoft Planner
9. Collaborative productivity suites like Microsoft Office 365, Zoho One or Google G Suite.
10. Attendance tracking with Microsoft Teams Shifts App amongst others
11. Security software such as Kaspersky, Norton or McAfee on devices
12. Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) and VPNs to ensure secured access to company resources.
There is an endless list of remote working tools for WFH. Just search online if you need more that the ones mentioned above. And do check out the digital skills needed for businesses.
The company usually pays for the software and apps used. If the company has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, then the computers and smartphones would belong to the employee. Utilities such as broadband internet and electricity is the norm at most homes and the employee would pay for these. However, some companies may provide an allowance to cover for these costs as the WFH use case would have increased the utilities consumption somewhat.
Employees need to get feedback on how their performance is perceived. They also need support from co-workers and management to help them stay on track. It gets lonely, stress and work frustration can build up if there is no outlet to share it with like minded co-workers and managers.
This is a long list of items for WFH workers and employers to consider. Just remember, this will help in the digital transformation journey for your organization. And build the necessary digital skills and savviness in your team members