If the employees are at a home office

Distance work requires an unusual approach from both the employees and the employers: decent and safe working equipment, agreed upon virtual working environments, regular communication, and joint entertainment assist in implementing a routine for the new situation that is equal to working together in the workplace.
Restrictions in force

In order to avoid the spread of the virus and getting infected, to protect the life and health of the people and to ensure the functioning of the society, it is necessary to follow the enacted restrictions and guidelines.

Restrictions in force
The meters of risk level

The main meters are the number on people infected with COVID-19 and the number of people hospitalised. The Government reviews the risk level once a week.

Instructions for how to behave at different risk levels

Working environment and equipment

  • Employees who work from home need work equipment and safe access to the environments necessary for doing their work.
  • If distance work goes on for a longer period it would be good if you also allow the employee to take the office chair, monitor and other work equipment to their home office.
  • If the employee has to manage in the middle of children and family life, you have to understand, accept and support the fact that children might become a part of meetings for a while.
  • If possible, agree upon the working times suitable for the employee, using vacation time outside of the schedule or the possibility to exceptionally work from the office.

Cybersecurity

Consider carefully, consulting with a specialist if necessary, and instruct your employees on how to protect the data of both people and the company in distance work conditions, including:

  • what business software and video applications are used;
  • what should be kept in mind so that passwords would be well kept and also well created, and that they would be changed often enough;
  • that smart devices and computers are protected with anti-virus software;
  • that the home WiFi network is protected against a strange intruder;
  • that the principles of necessity and security would be kept in mind when sharing data.

Objectives, priorities, time management

In order for the employee to be able to focus on work, she needs to understand what expectations and objectives are set to her. Come to an agreement about them together, write them down and review regularly how far along one matter or another is.

It is important to every employer that the customers are well taken care of and work deadlines met. Working from home suits some people better as there are no distracting factors like there are in the office, while for others it might be more complicated to work from home and the productivity drops (e.g. families with small children, lack of a separate room for an office etc.).

To keep the employee clearly focused on work, it would be a good idea to agree upon specific deadlines when new tasks are handed out.

Communication

  • Keeping the employees informed in a manner that is timely and sufficient is very important both in a crisis situation and when doing distance work. Consider whether and how to make the exchange of information more frequent, so that during an unstable time the employees would be up to date on how the company is doing, what the priorities are, and what is being focused on.
  • It is also important to give out information that is as honest and open as possible about how the company is doing financially, and whether and how the market situation might influence the company.
  • At meetings the employees have a good opportunity to speak along on important topics and ask questions. From the organisational side of meetings, it is recommended that the employees keep their cameras on to create a more realistic sense of being in the same so-called room.

Emotional support

  • It is very important to keep in contact and interact with employees during distance work. As an employer you should communicate with your employees at least once a week and, in addition to work-related issues, show interest in the employees’ general wellbeing, joys and worries as well.
  • Listen to and notice the problems that an employee has and monitor the stress level. From time to time it is good to just ask how the distance work is going and whether the work load seems manageable.
  • This will help to form a better understanding of how the employee is really doing, what worries have come up that might interfere with performing work duties, and how these could be solved.
  • In order to include the employees and keep up a team spirit and a sense of cohesion, it is good to organise joint gatherings both outdoors and virtually.

Last updated: 15.11.2021