Managing a Working From Home Workforce.
We are entering a period where demand has outstripped supply, people are acting in an unpredicted manner. They are expecting to live and work as business as usual as much as possible. Including demanding multiple monitors, laptops, 4G dongles as they feel obliged to carry on with their usual work activities as if nothing has happened. This is evident as these general resources are now completely unavailable or have a 3-4 week waiting time for delivery!
Does your BCP account for this?
- Does the plan indicate the business activities that must be maintained at a ‘business as usual’ level?
- Does the plan indicate which business processes can be put on hold / delayed or reduced?
- Have you communicated the minimum service levels to all staff?
- Do all staff understand what is expected of them as an absolute minimum?
- Does your plan allow you to allocate the distribution of assets according to criticality?
Remember, you may well have some staff that are having to adjust to working at home under stressful situations. Some have never had the delight of trying to work while all family members are home 24/7, having to juggle kids play/homework, washing, background noises, all the while expected to be operating business as usual! It’s not an easy transition. Even for those of us who have been working from home for several years it’s hard! But add to that the pressure of wanting or needing to shop for food supplies ‘just in case’.
Expect lower productivity regardless of your plans!
Let staff know that it’s ok not to carry on as normal. Avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety at already stressful time. Consider making a strategic decision to prioritise:
- Who actually needs to work? Are there any roles or activities that can be forced to stop partially or entirely? Your BIA should instruct you on this.
- Who can work from home? What activities are sensitive in nature that should not be completed in an insecure environment? Do your plans (or supporting procedures) instruct staff on what information they can access, copy or print while at home?
- Who wants to work? Who needs to carry on as much as possible for their own mental health?
- Do your plans or supporting procedures indicate what they could do? E.g. can be as trivial as tidying up their desktop, email boxes, shared or personal folders. The activities that are always put off because of time constraints but offer value once things are ‘back to normal’.
- What support can they offer others in more critical roles?
- Who can work on reduced hours? Acknowledging the difficulty of home working, accept and communicate that staff are only needed to work 4 hours a day, or 4 days a week etc…
- Who wants to stop working, even for a short period? Can you offer shifts of one week on/off within teams?
Asking the right questions of your plans and of your workforce, you can help to alleviate the pressure, anxiety and uncertainty.