How to Work From Home

12 March 2020 24 min read
Working From Home Checklist

Making the switch to work remotely can be a big change, and while there may be growing pains, it has many benefits. It can result in increased efficiencies and happier employees. To help ease the transition, we've put together a list of things to consider and plan before making the leap.

1. Computers & equipment

Does everyone have a laptop, or do you need to purchase laptops or tablets for some team members? What about additional monitors, extra chargers, cables, mice, keyboards and headsets? Laptops are obviously an all-in-one solution, but some folks prefer to use an external mouse, want secondary monitors, etc. It really depends on personal preferences, as well as needs and efficiencies for each person's work role.

And, let's not forget your budget. Making these purchases can strain resources. Are you able to afford the necessary equipment that will allow your team to work from home?

2. Access to files

Cloud solutions such as Office365 make this much easier than installing and using VPNs on each laptop to access any shared files. Whatever your solution is, be sure everyone knows how to access network files before they go home.

3. Video and phone conferencing capabilities and expectations

It's important to not only establish the system you'll be using for group meetings, but to also share the expectations. Do you want everyone to utilize their camera? If some team members are still working from the office, does the conference room have a camera for that room, or will each person in the room also use their computer's camera? It can be uncomfortable to be on camera, but it really helps connect the team, and over time it becomes normal.

And, let's not ignore the fact that there's always someone who doesn't have their speaker or mic turned off in the meeting room, which creates that horrible feedback sound or echo we all hate. Make sure everyone is properly trained on the system, where their mic and camera buttons are, and the expectations to avoid wasted time for set-up and troubleshooting.

Here at HawkPoint, we use Teams for video conferencing. Other options include Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts.

4. Internet access

Will remote workers have reliable access to internet? Working remotely doesn't always require internet access, but most people use the internet regularly throughout their workday. Having a strong connection is important, especially for cloud-based apps and file sharing programs, like Office365.

With Office365, you can also utilize the Teams app and use your phone's network to access chat and files. Alternatively, you can use your phone as a hot spot and connect your laptop to it for internet access.

5. Chat systems

Even if you're not working remotely, utilizing a chat system can be very handy for inter-office communications and knowing the status of your team. It's great for quick questions and even group collaborations. Again, we use Teams here at HawkPoint, but other options include OMessenger, Google Hangouts and Slack.

Check out Microsoft's video below on how to use Teams to stay connected to your team through chat, video and audio calls.

6. Phones and voicemail

If you're not utilizing Teams for phone calls, then what is your solution for audio calls? Many companies already use a softphone or VOIP solution, but there are still a lot of businesses using traditional phones to connect with customers, vendors and colleagues. When you switch to working from home, what will the team do? Use their personal phones? Email only? Adapt to a new remote phone system?

It's possible to set up traditional phones to email voicemails to the appropriate people, you can also call into the phone system remotely to manage voicemails.

There are many options when it comes to call systems. Choose one that works best for your team, technologies and budget.

7. Know how to contact your IT team

Share the number, email and make sure everyone knows how to submit a support ticket with their IT team.

Working remotely does require minimal technical skills to get setup and do some troubleshooting. It will help to train everyone on the systems and procedures ahead of time to minimize technical difficulties.

There will be bumps along the way, but with patience, good communication and clear expectations you can find success with a remote team.

Learn more about how we work from home.

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