June 4, 2020
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The current infection control measures have seen a large increase in the number of people carrying out some or all of their work from home and an equally large increase in the number of articles about how to set up a safe workstation while, maintaining good posture with regular breaks from screen work and not overloading electrical sockets. In this article we have a brief look at some other areas you may wish to consider.

First IT – a sudden move to homeworking will no doubt have caused a lot of work for (depending on your organisation) your IT department / team / person / the teenager who lives next door. You may need to update you current IT policies and procedures to meet any extra challenges brought about by the current situation.

Some of the areas that you may need to consider include:
• Are your cyber security controls sufficient, especially where employees will be using their own equipment? For example do the devices being used all have the latest operating systems installed, are they fully updated and do the have current updated ant-virus software installed?
• How will system updates be managed?
• How will IT problems and issues be resolved?

Another area to consider is what additional training and instruction will people require. Suddenly being faced a new work situation with new procedures to follow and new software to use can be a source of stress especially if the instructions people receive are not clear.

It can be easy for specialists to assume that other people know more about their subject than is actually the case, for example an IT specialist may use video conferencing on a daily basis however an instruction that just says “Schedule a Teams conference for 10:30am” may as well be in a foreign language to the first time homeworker if there is no supporting information on how to do this or the information provided makes too many assumptions about a person’s knowledge.

It is important to ensure that people are provided with the information and support they need both from the point of view of ensuring they can work effectively and for safeguarding their mental health.

This leads on to considering how to provide suitable supervision and communication. What can be achieved on an ad-hoc basis in an open plan office my require more formal and structured arrangements where people are working remotely. As well as formal communications you may also need to consider having structures in place to facilitate informal communications between staff allowing for exchanges of ideas and experiences and “buddy” arrangements for people to unload concerns.

Finally thought should also be given to whether a move to homeworking gives rise to new opportunities for crime and whether your crime prevention measures are sufficient.

Our specialists can provide you with help and support on various topics including business continuity planning, please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact or get in touch using [email protected]