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Working from Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted on 03/19/20 By Brittany K. King


The rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is significantly impacting life in the United States. Media headlines are filled with news that major events have been canceled, from trade shows and business meetings to music festivals and sporting events.

But it’s not just festivals and sports leagues that are worried about the spread of COVID-19. Major corporations across the U.S. have enacted coronavirus work policies, specifically allowing employees to work from home.

With the growing concern of COVID-19 in the United States, companies must seriously consider implementing a work from home policy to help prevent the spread of the respiratory disease. For some companies, work-from-home policies are nothing new. With commonly available high-speed Internet access, smartphones, cloud computing, and other high-tech innovations, commuting to an office is merely a formality.

Most professionals can work from anywhere they can connect their laptops to the internet. Employees have been found to be more productive when they have the chance to work remotely and offering remote work policies can help retain workers and reduce turnover.

Whether your organization is being pushed to create a work-from-home policy to deal with the current public health crisis, or just looking to improve and expand existing initiatives, employees and supervisors need to learn how to be effective at home.

business woman wearing a surgical face mask

As an Employee: How to Work from Home

Working from home can be productive, freeing, but also distracting. Mitigate disruptions and learn how to treat a day at home like any other at the office.

1. Create a schedule and routine

Everyone has a morning routine before work, and that shouldn’t stop just because you’re at home. Make the bed, drink coffee, get dressed, and break for lunch just as you usually would. Maintaining a routine will help mentally prepare you to sit down and work.


2. Establish rules at home

Roommates, significant others, children, and pets are notorious distractors. Set ground rules with your household and ask for seclusion in your home-office workstation during peak working hours.


3. Structure your day

Plan your day around completing high-priority tasks during normal business hours, just as you would in the office. Do your best to stay on track with normal project deadlines and expectations when you work from home.


4. Communicate and participate

Avoid being a hermit. Chat or call your coworkers with questions as if you were sitting next to them and don’t be afraid to utilize conference calls or video chat in place of meetings. Remember: it’s best to overcommunicate when working from home.

man sitting on couch in living room working on laptop computer

As a Supervisor: How to Manage Remote Employees 

The absence of face-to-face interaction can be stressful for professionals managing employees who work from home. However, a lack of presence does not always equate to a drop in productivity.


1. Individualize your attention

Employees who work remotely often feel isolated and forgotten. Make time for one-on-one phone calls or video chats so your workers don’t feel out of the loop.

 

2. Communicate expectations

Regularly communicating with your employees is critical. At the office, employees can drop by and ask about deadlines, processes, and updates. When the office works from home, it’s up to you to convey your expectations.  

 

3. Trust your employees

In the end, trusting your employees to do their work is the most important factor. A good employee cares about their work, no matter the location. Creating basic work from home guidelines for employees should be enough to make the endeavor successful.

Can Hourly and Non-Exempt Employees Work from Home?

Allowing exempt employees to work from home is rarely a headache, but it can be challenging to keep track of hourly and non-exempt remote workers.

Follow these guidelines for your non-salaried remote employees:

• Make sure your employees produce proper time records.
• Create written overtime policies and communicate when it is and isn’t expected.
• Provide necessary tools needed for remote work, like a company laptop or phone.

man standing in office video conferencing on cell phone

Free Webinars: Working from Home Tips

To better support your work-from-home initiatives during the COVID-19 crisis, Lorman will offer the following on-demand webinars for free:

 

 

Brittany K. King
Brittany K. King

Brittany is the content marketing specialist for Lorman. Her background is in content strategy and social media marketing. Brittany has worked in an array of industries, ranging from consumer packaged goods to insurance and (of course) continuing education services.

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