Telecommuting: The go-to business continuity plan during the coronavirus outbreak

May 19, 2020
More  than 90% of respondents to a Citrix survey said they would work from home  more often if they were  granted the leeway by their employers to do so. But under normal economic and  public health conditions, less than one-third of workers are able to work  remotely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current guidance,  however, encourages businesses to allow as much of their workforce to  telecommute as possible. This directive is enforced unevenly by states and  employers, creating variability in who can work from home based on the  industry and region in which businesses operate.
COVID-19 has accelerated the charge toward a distributed workforce, forcing  employers’ hands and leaving them to put into place contingency and  continuity plans quickly. These plans are essentially insurance against  near-term risk and can also be blueprints for long-term success.
Reducing staff-to-staff transmission
With staff working from home, there’s less chance of a highly contagious  illness infecting and spreading through a sizable portion of the labor force.  This can equate to fewer unexpected absences, less downtime, healthier staff  members, and reduced health care costs.
Maximizing on-the-clock productivity
Workers doing their jobs from the confines of their own homes can design  their own habitats - ones that work best for them in all facets. If someone  is an early riser, they’re free to sign on at a time that’s matched to their  productivity and motivation levels - not an arbitrary 9-5 schedule.
And while there are surely at-home disruptions (children, pets, wandering  attention, etc.), there are similar disturbances in the office, too: chatty  co-workers; general volume, temperature and lighting issues; poor ambiance  and the social pressure to “look busy.”
As working remotely is normalized, employees can optimize their days to be as  productive as possible.
Digitizing and automating older workflows
For companies diving headfirst into the world of telecommuting, they may find  that some of their core processes don’t compute.
A distributed workforce means employees need access to a tech stack that is  comparable to what they’re used to in the office, including conferencing  tools, malware prevention software, company intranet and portals, plug-ins  and saved passwords. Paper documentation, in-person meetings and any  “physical” processes must of course be migrated to a work-from-home model as  well.
Adjusting to the new and away from the old may uncover job tasks that are  redundant or workflows that are sloppy at best. Telecommuting offers a way to  digitize what works and scrap what doesn’t.
Leveraging first-mover advantage
Businesses that acted early in their transition to a remote workforce may  benefit from a first-mover advantage, while competitors are stuck trying to  figure out logistics and calculate whether they can or should telecommute.
Moving remote effectively serves to future-proof your company not only from  the coronavirus crisis but, really, any crisis of a similar scale - tomorrow  and every day after.
Innovating new communication and collaboration channels
Even in the absence of formal guidance from management or human resources,  employees will inevitably find ways to streamline their output and make their  workdays as seamless as possible. Some tools and resources are available as  standalone solutions, although these often come with a steeper learning  curve, particularly among those in your workforce that aren’t as familiar  with technology.
The opportunity to launch tools and software is endless in a remote work  environment because it’s a business imperative to do so. Finding the right  balance of technology to power end-to-end telecommuting is a task that should  be personalized to each business. With iSolved, a robust human capital  management solution, your employees are already familiar with the interface  and functionality. Adding in additional tools and resources flattens the  learning curve while keeping team members connected and in sync, no matter  where they’re working from.
iSolved handles back-office functions like HR, finance, payroll, benefits  administration and workforce management, as well as social-centric engagement  functions. Your employees can ask for help, praise one another, and  collaborate on projects from anywhere. Additional functions include learning  management, compliance with all the latest regulations, and support with HR  to-dos and tasks.