Agile/remote working – some of you may already have systems for this in place. But if not then now is the time to get something in place – not wanting to be overly dramatic, but with the current world situation, many of us will probably have little choice but to work from home at some time over the next few weeks or months even.

We’re not going to make this a long and waffly blog – we never really do those anyway, but all FM’s we know are currently up to their eyes in COVID-19 planning so have little time for that sort of reading right now.
So what are the basics you need to know?

  1. Most people will be fine for a short while, so don’t get too concerned about them working from home in the short term – prioritise the people with existing difficulties such as aches, pains, eyesight problems, disabilities etc – the people you already know struggle at times, even with the best of setups.
  2. Tell your staff that you’re working on keeping everyone safe, comfortable and productive over the next few weeks, and that you’re purposely prioritising those that you know have some difficulties. But make it clear that they must tell you if they’re struggling so that they can be added to the priority pile too – health & safety is a 2 way responsibility between employer and employee, so they have responsibilities here too.
  3. Sort your tech out so that they either have a laptop, or the ability to remote into your systems using their own tech from home. If neither of those are possible, then there’s generally some work that can be done without access to your systems – take paperwork home, do some research, or some other job that as a business you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, just never have the time.
  4. Laptops are fine for short periods (few hours here and there), but as the screen can’t be separated from the keyboard it’s not easy to get yourself comfy if you’re working on it for longer periods of time. So provide them with a keyboard and mouse for their laptop and physically raise the laptop and just use it as a screen. You can get special screenraisers https://wearephlex.com/shop/ but a pile of books will do the job just as well if you’re at home and not moving around. And you don’t need to buy them a separate keyboard and mouse – if they’re not going to be in the office, then why not let them take their office ones with them….
  5. You obviously can’t provide everyone with an office chair for home, so talk to them about working sensibly and making sure they take breaks and move around as much as possible.
  6. Advise the use of pillows and cushions to replicate the adjustments of their office chair, get and keep comfy.
  7. Send out a link to our ‘how to’ guide so that they can set themselves up at home.

Summary:

• Provide separation of keyboard and screen
• Provide training on comfort away from the office
• Prioritise those with existing ailments
• Make it a 2-way responsibility

So there you have it – really simple stuff, and of course there’s more to it than this if they’re going to be working from home long term, and if you want to create a more agile working culture for the future, but this will get you over the next few weeks. You can look at more elegant solutions and policies later.

PS – we know our posts are short, and to the point, but we kind of like them that way.

Hope you do too? 😊