The ABCs of Preparing to Work Remote During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Stephen Spragens , StoredTech / Published 03.24.20
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The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) creates enormous challenges for the employees of businesses and organizations of all types, sizes, and industries. The demand for social distancing will require many of us to adapt to working from home. Even those who already work from home will have to adjust to a different working style while children, spouse or partner, and other adults are also at home. We will all have to adapt quickly in an environment that is increasingly stressful. In addition, the rapid increase in the number of people working from home will strain the capabilities of the Internet and information technology in unexpected ways.

In the rapidly evolving COVID-19 environment, we suggest that effectively working from home will benefit from a holistic approach that includes: being flexible and prepared to modify behavior given your particular situation; assessment of your existing Internet connection and computer capabilities; and an ongoing monitoring of changing working conditions that may result from continuing quarantine and isolation. We will have to solve our home working environment problems in real time and at an unusually fast pace. Of course, companies and organizations will have their own set of challenges. They will have to manage a highly dispersed workforce while adapting software and ensuring IT resources to meet growing bandwidth requirements. For now, the concerns discussed here relate to the needs of employees working from home.

We suggest the following guidelines for successfully moving and integrating your work environment into your home. We hope these will help you to get ahead of the curve for finding needed resources and solutions to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A. Assess your new environment

1. Do you have children at home, and will you need to monitor them closely, or are they more self-sufficient?

2. If you are working from shared spaces, will there be loud background noises, and how will you control any distractions?

3. What sort of technology will school aged children need to continue E-Learning activities?

4. Are there sufficient resources to meet all household technology needs?

5. Is there a spouse, partner, or family member that can help?

B. Review your current resources

1. What Internet speed is in your Internet Service Provider (ISP) contract?

2. Do you have enough bandwidth and speed to work from home effectively?

3. Will you need additional bandwidth to support the needs of your children as well as the needs of your spouse, partner, and/or other family members?

4. Do you have a strong wireless signal throughout your home?

5. Do your cell phones have a better signal in different parts of your home?

6. Are your Ethernet plugs in the wall working, and are they located in your designated work areas?

7. Do you have the proper cords to connect all your devices, and are they long enough?

8. Will you have hardware from your employer, or will you need to supplement with your own?

9. Will you need to connect to office network devices remotely, and do you know all passwords to remote access points?

10. Do you need to set up a work phone, or will call forwarding be an option to your cell phone?

11. Can you successfully set up your office equipment or will you need assistance?

C. Identify any deficits

1. Will my current firewall allow for connecting from outside the organization?

2. What additional hardware will I need to be successful based on the answers to the above questions (desk phone, laptop, headset with or without noise cancellation, longer cabling, upgraded router, etc.)

3. Do I have online shopping accounts setup for buying needed supplies (paper, cabling, power chords, noise cancelling headphones, etc.)

4. Do I need to hire outside help for additional support?

5. What is my strategy to retain receipts, record expenses, and plan for taxable deductions next year?

We will have to solve our home working environment problems in real time and at an unusually fast pace.

If you have any questions, contact Stephen Spragens with StoredTech at 919-750-8696 or sspragens@storedtech.com.