The recent Covid-19 pandemic has also been termed as one of the largest work from home experiments in the world. In China, the recent outbreak meant that more and more people are forced to either take longer holidays or continue their usual work from the safety of their own homes. Several companies in Singapore are already prepping for the inevitable “work from home” future - should the Covid-19 situation exacerbated.
Whilst this work from home experiment might work for employees in the Marketing, Communications, and Creative Advertising industries. But for those working in the Human Resources industry, telecommuting might sound a little strange.
In this article, we’ll discuss some key pointers you might want to include in your business continuity plan. Should your company require you to work from home.
1. Hold Meetings and Discussions Online
Brainstorming sessions, meetings, and discussions are all part and parcel of the daily office affair. Ask around and you’ll notice that meetings and discussions are already being held online by other departments. Thankfully, your office might already have a chat application in place for you to communicate amongst one another.
However, some applications that might help you with your discussions include:
Telegram: Popular amongst younger employees (think: millennials and gen z), Telegram is a lot similar to WhatsApp. You can create group chats, send multiple images and videos (without having it automatically saved on the receiver’s phone), to communicate with one another.
Slack: You’re probably using this application already. It’s great for team communication and disseminating important announcements to the company.
Google Hangout Chat: An app that allows you to chat and make group calls with your teammates (or really anyone with a Google account)!
Zoom: Make multiple group calls or one-on-one voice and video calls with your colleagues.
Skype: Old school. Nothing wrong with that.
2. Get Your Arsenal of Apps Ready
Unless you have great self-control, it could be slightly difficult to stay focused when working from home. Before you start your HR work from home adventure, you’ll need to download a list of useful applications. This can include:
Website Blocker: Useful to help you block those pesky websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
App Blocker: Again, something to help you block distracting apps that take you away from your work.
To-Do Lists: One simple way to help you boost productivity is by making a to-do list filled with the tasks you’re required to complete throughout the week.
Focus Music: Play some sort of background music to keep your focus. YouTube has playlists filled with meditation music that goes on for 6 to 7 hours.
Pro-Tip: Make sure that your workstation (a.k.a. desk) at home is spruced up, clean, and has little to no decor on it. Learn more on how you can Marie Kondo your desk here.
Unsure of what apps you should be downloading? Examples of these tools include:
Serene: Mac users rejoice! Serene is a free application for Mac that aims to help you achieve as much productivity as possible in one day. To use Serene, all you need to do is set ONE goal you’d like to accomplish - which will be broken up into a range of different tasks.
Serene will then provide you with 20 to 60-minute intervals, along with allocated break times. You can even set a list of blocked websites which Serene will block you from accessing. The app even automatically sets your phone on silent mode, to keep you from being distracted.
Request for an invite to use Serene for free here.
Google Drive: If you’re not using Google Drive (and all the other free services associated with it), then you’re not utilizing some of the best free resources out there.
Applications such as Google Docs and Google Sheets are both a dupe for the ever-popular Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. You can even create presentations for free on Google Slides.
However, unlike the medley of applications available from Microsoft Office, Google Drive allows people from different computers to edit and collaborate on presentations, documents, and even spreadsheets together. Making it the perfect tool for collaboration when you’re working remotely.
WECARE™: Working from home can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re a HR personnel - since it is out of your usual comfort zone. Enter: WECARE™, a workforce management system that aims to help you remove as much paperwork as possible.
The system also boasts other HR friendly benefits such as:
A. Automated Payroll System: The automatic computation of wages based on customer requirements.
B. Time Clock, Attendance, and Leave Tracking: To help you keep track of all the hours clocked in by your employees.
C. Claims Expense Management
D. Invoice and Report Generation
E. Secure Data Protection: Cybersecurity coverage to ensure that sensitive information is safe and secure.
Find out more about BGC's WECARE™ technology here.
3. Embrace Consistent Breaks
As someone who used to freelance write from home, I realised the value of breaks. It’s already tough trying to invest all your energy concentrating on your work tasks from the comfort of your own home.
You can schedule a sweat session during your “lunch break” or even celebrate the completion of each task with a short, 2-minute workout (e.g. jumping jacks). Since you’ll be moving around a lot less when working from home, you might feel sluggish and weary. But instead of reaching out for that cup of coffee, a short gym session might be the best way to get those endorphins flowing.
4. Automate As Much As Possible!
Technology is a man’s best friend. When working from home, we sometimes forget certain responsibilities simply because our colleagues aren’t actually around to remind us. In times like this remember to:
Schedule Alerts: Using your alarm application on your phone, schedule reminders for important tasks throughout the day. Organize the reminders from the most important to the least.
Pre-schedule: With websites like Buffer, you can pre-schedule posts on social media websites (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). Additionally, Gmail also allows users to pre-schedule emails. Doing this beforehand saves you time to concentrate on other more pressing items.
Filter the Unimportant: Download Google Chrome extensions such as StayFocused, DFTube, and Block Site allows you to filter distracting websites. Additionally, you can opt to filter out spam and unimportant emails on Gmail.
5. Prep a Long Term Business Plan
If you’re working from home for a short while, ticking your goals from your to-do list is a feasible way to keep the company and your department afloat. But you need to think about the big picture too.
Which is why it’s important to prep a personalized business continuity plan to achieve the stipulated department goals. As a team, you should plan the different actions each team member is required to complete within the next week or even month. The actions can then be broken down into bite-sized pieces, to ensure that everything is headed in the right direction.
6. Understand That Your Employees will be Distracted
When you're young and single, it's hard to imagine that your more experienced employees have major distractions like kids at home. Which means that it might be slightly harder for these employees to work a straight 6 to 8 hours from home.
If you're working from home and dealing with kids at the same time. You might find these solutions useful:
- Swings, bouncy chairs
- Distract them with shows such as Baby Einstein, Peppa Pig, or even musical songs.
- Alternatively, if possible, try to get someone you trust to babysit for you.
- Educational games and apps.
- Educational and/or children's tv shows. Check out this list of educational YouTube channels for toddlers here.
- Reading and/or writing children's stories.
- Online classes and/or tutoring.
- Online games or online activities to keep them socialized and in touch with their friends.
- Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok are some popular video streaming websites that are popular amongst tweens and teens.
- Encourage board game playing if there are several siblings living under one house.
Are you prepared to work from home during the Covid-19 virus scare? Let us know in the comments section below!