Home office - how to do it?
Everyday more and more companies are deciding to start a home office for their employees. Governments are encouraging people to stay at home because of the recent situation. The IT is privileged with possibility of working from home and still delivering the product. Question is: how to prepare people for this kind of change? How to monitor the work?
Some of the companies are not ready to provide home office for all their employees. Because of the sudden necessity for this kind of change, companies need to act fast. Some of the changes need time to be implemented, like for example the VPN configuration.
- First point is to provide people all necessary tools for work. The absolute must is to provide them hardware: the company laptop should be hashed and encrypted and taken home with the employees with all necessary items like chargers. If people have no access to the mobile computers, and workers did not previously work from home, the swap to the private computers is impossible. Working on private computers is also dangerous for the company security.
- Second thing is access to the company resources. Here comes the Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows users to connect to the private company network directly from home public network. VPN is the most common solution to allow employees to connect to the company resources from home.
- Access to the communication tools is also necessary to keep the communication between the teams. People would need to participate in the meetings, which should be held via videoconferences handled by tools like Zoom or Skype. Normal day-to-day chats will be handled by text messaging platforms. Communication is the key at work, so the access to the communication tools is crucial.
- Last but not least is the general organization. If people are not used to work from home, some of the new requirements would need to be presented via training.
Monitoring the time
This is one of the hot topics during the home office. We can distinguish two totally different approaches: Absolute control or absolute trust.
Absolute control is usually handled by the corporations, where people are one of the many and no one would notice if they would stop working. I would also suggest to use this kind of controlling stuff within the teams which presents lacks of commitment. In the other cases using time control software might look oppressive.
The second approach is to trust people that work required from them will be done honestly. I recommend this approach if people are organized and honest with their work.
How we are handling this?
Here at Codetain all the employees are used to work with teams abroad. We are working with teams located in Germany, USA and Bangladesh everyday. With this kind of work, elements necessary during the home office are familiar to the team. We also allow people to work from home if some urgent matters pop up, because of that our team is used to home office.
We learned that regular meetings during home office are crucial. Daily standups are performed via Zoom and we have different personalized channels to avoid mess in text communicators.
We are not monitoring the employees work time during home office. Our team is well organized and do care for our goals and each other. We are working with the SCRUM methodology, the tasks are clear and everyone knows what needs to be done and when. If someone is lagging behind, other team members are here to help them. Therefore people know if someone were not working honestly from home, the rest of the team would need to catch up for them. The big importance is to keep teams in good spirits and they will benefit with solid development.