Work-at-Home Tips for Employers

Bright ideas for employers so they can make the best of emergency work-at-home situations

We and our network of some of the world’s leading workplace experts have been helping businesses develop and implement telecommuting and flexible work strategies for more than a decade. Usually, the process of creating a remote work program includes:

  • A strong business case
  • Gaining the support of senior leadership
  • Strategy meetings with HR, IT, Real Estate, Finance, Sustainability, Marketing, and other functional areas
  • Workplace and workforce analyses
  • Pilot programs
  • Manager and employee training
  • Focus groups, employee surveys, town hall meeting
  • Development of formalized processes and policies
  • Pre- and post-change metrics
  • Roll-outs, regroups, and more

But these are not normal times and we want to help those who have been thrust into the deep end and are struggling to get their head above water.

Below is a collection of resources, our own and those of others, we think will help. We will continue to add new materials as we find or create them so check back frequently.

Sample Telecommuting/Work-at-Home Policies/Documents

Click here for free sample telecommuting employer policies and employee work-at-home agreements.

Our Quick Guide to Getting Started in a Work-at-Home Emergency

• Find out who is already successfully working from home or remotely and enlist their help in determining what’s working and what isn’t

• Make sure everyone who needs permission to access files has it

• Make sure your people know how to access remote files

• Choose a web-based teleconference and video-conference platform and make sure everyone knows how to use it

• Establish guidelines for working hours and employee availability

• Have employees test whether they are able to log into your system from their home computer

• Set up an IT helpline; someone people can call if they have problems

• Have employees install any software might need

• Consider allowing employees to take their office technology home

• Consider allowing employees to take their office chair home – it’s cheaper than a Worker’s Comp claim

• Consider offering a home-office stipend—based on an average U.S. salary, the investment will pay for itself with less than 2 days of an otherwise not being able to work remotely

• Establish check-in protocols between managers and their people

• Establish a policy regarding who pays for broadband and cell phone expenses

• Establish a buddy-system, pairing experienced remote workers with those who are new to it

• If you will need to sign documents virtually, be sure you have secure tools to do so

• Assume there will be low-lifes looking for a way to penetrate your security and make sure everyone understands security protocols

• Expect a bit of chaos at first, but things will settle in quickly if you do some advance planning now

15-minute review of remote work facts and strategies.
(yes, now we have a new camera)
Kate’s comments on preparedness (10 minutes).
Full webinar (1 hour) at Broadband Breakfast website

Computer Security Tips for Telecommuters

These work-at-home computer security tips were kindly provided by Kaylin Trychon, cybersecurity communications expert and vice president at Rokk Solutions, a full-service, bipartisan public affairs firm. 

  • All remote workers should have access to a VPN (virtual private network). VPNs create a secure connection from one network to another network over the Internet. For example, for remote workers using their home WiFi to access the Internet, it is likely that connection is not as secure as your enterprise connected. If some of your employees do not have access to a VPN we recommend they do not conduct remote work that is sensitive or proprietary.
  • Two-factor or multifactor authentication should be enabled for all devices and accounts. Multi-factor authentication is an authentication method in which a user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. For example, one common two-factor authentication method involves requiring users to enter a passcode sent to them via email, text or phone. It is important to provide employees with a guide to setting up these methods and you establish a mechanism for verifying that all employees are using it.
  • Advise your employees to secure their at-home Internet connection. Many at-home Internet connections are left password free for ease of access and use. These connections, however, are shared across many wireless devices that are known to have security vulnerabilities. As more workers begin to operate out of their homes, their Internet connection and Internet-connected devices will become prime targets for cybercriminals. It is important that organizations advise their employees to divide their home Wi-Fi networks into different accounts; keep one secure login for business use and one for personal use.
  • Alert employees to possible email scams. Hyperlinks found in emails or on websites can be tempting to click on, especially if they seem to provide useful information surrounding the Coronavirus. As mentioned above, there has been an increase in phishing emails using the Coronavirus to trick employees into clicking on malicious links. It is important that organizations continue to communicate with their employees about the dangers of opening email links and attachments without verifying the email’s legitimacy. Employees can easily verify an email or domain by checking the sender credentials or hovering over a link to identify the URL. If the email is suspicious, employees should be advised to mark it as such and alert your organization’s IT department.
  • Update Security Systems. Require employees to keep systems updated with the latest security patches.
  • Turn Off Devices. Advise employees to turn off and unplug work devices when not in use.
  • Don’t Connect with Work and Home Devices. Instruct employees not to connect at-home internet-connected devices like Bluetooth speakers or smart TVs to their work devices.