Thinking about remote working?

16 March 2020

Remote working

Many organisations are looking at remote working (or teleworking) for at least some of their workers during the Coronavirus or COVID-19 crisis. Remote working is not practical for everyone. However, it’s a potentially viable alternative for many to maintain at least some level of business continuity.

It's a significant change to transition a number of people to remote working (from home or elsewhere).  It needs to be planned carefully just like any other significant business change. There are a number of success factors to consider. For instance, we need to:

  • Make those arrangements effective and efficient.
  • Ensure the health and safety of the workers.
  • Maintain the security of information that they access or process.

Let’s briefly look at some of those Quality, OHS and Information Security implications:

Quality: Making effective and efficient arrangements

You must clearly communicate the anticipated deliverables. What level of productivity is anticipated? Have a plan for general team briefings, communications about the work to be performed, any checking, and other matters as necessary.

People need to have the necessary resources available to them. This is likely to include computer hardware and software, mobile phone and internet plan. Of course, the very nature of cloud software facilitates remote working. It can generally be quickly expanded and available anywhere with a suitable internet connection.

Ensuring the health and safety of workers and others

Organisations must provide and maintain a work environment that is healthy, safe and without risks to health. That applies to your workers, or others that may be affected by their work. Such requirements still apply when someone is working from home or another remote location.

The challenge is how to ensure that when the organisations owners / managers have probably never been to the worker’s home. The answer for many organisations is a self-assessment process. Your checklist should include items such as:

  • Fire safety.
  • Ergonomics (e.g. suitable desk / chair / lighting).
  • Emergency measures (e.g. first aid and evacuation).
  • Electrical hazards etc.

Maintaining information security controls

Protection should be in place to avoid the unauthorized access to, or disclosure of, the information stored and processed when remote working. The work will typically involve the use of one or more mobile devices. Therefore, consideration needs to be given to both the remote working scenario itself and the relevant device(s). Factors to consider include:

  • The physical security of the premises.
  • Registration of computers / devices.
  • Separation between business and private use.
  • Restrictions on software to be installed.
  • AV / Malware protection.
  • Access controls.
  • Backup arrangements for any data stored locally.
  • Remote access arrangements to internal systems.
  • Family and visitor access to equipment and information.

Many organisations choose to implement a mobile device policy and a remote working policy. Information security considerations can also be included in a self-assessment checklist.

Therefore, if you are thinking about implementing remote working in your organisation, we would suggest putting together a plan, a policy, and a checklist to help ensure the process works well for you.

Resources

For the convenience of our clients, Qudos has put together a Remote Working Pack. It includes:

  • A copy of this article.
  • Change Management Plan.
  • Communications Plan.
  • Remote Workplace Self-Assessment Checklist
  • Remote Working Policy

Qudos3 subscribers may download the pack from the software menu item Help / Resource Centre / Documents

Qudos Club subscribers may download the pack from the Documents button.

Don't forget that as long as they have an internet connection, all your important documents can be made available to people working from home using the Qudos3 Documents module.

If your are not currently a Qudos client, you can obtain a copy of the model Remote Workplace Self-Assessment Checklist through to 30 April 2020. Just send your request via the Quick Contact form on the qudos-software home page.


Further reading:

You might also be interested in Working remotely: A professional's guide to the essential tools. (Article by TechRepublic).

 

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