Working from home? It’s kind of the new normal.
The Transport Opinion Survey found that pre-Covid, only around one in five people internationally worked from home. During Covid? That figure upped to 45%. And now employees feel that they are more likely to have that option even when ‘full real life’ returns. In fact, the trend may be that employees will need to be offered a higher wage to actually come to the office.
It makes sense really, as nowadays much work can be done online, with collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams making everything smooth and easy – and people enjoy not having to commute, getting to work from the coffee shop, or working from even the beach on holidays.
What this all means is that employers need to up the ante and figure out what the best WFH home office setups are so that their employees can be the happiest and most productive. Not surprisingly, it’s all a bit subjective depending on each employee, however we have some guidelines to help out.
Working from bed or the couch is not ideal for actually working all day. People need a desk or dedicated space to work from to ensure they’re able to have a proper ergonomic setup at home. For many people, they like to move about from space to space in the home, depending on what they’re working on at the time and how their body feels. This might include standing up at a kitchen bench as a standup desk, sitting at an actual desk or dining table if a desk is not available, as well as the occasional couch session, depending on the task at hand and mood.
You don’t necessarily need a desktop computer to have your best productivity at home. You can still work from a laptop so long as you have a large enough monitor to get everything done. In general, this means a 24+ inch monitor is the best decision. Multiple monitors can also be a good choice if you find you’re constantly switching between windows or applications. Do be aware of laptop ports and the cord needed for the monitor/s. This may require HDMI converters or a hub.
Environment is often overlooked as something not that important if you aren’t used to working from home, although the effects of the right working environment can be really very effective in keeping up motivation.
Different people prefer different things, however take into consideration:
- Whether you like a clean or messy workspace
- A background to look out to or just a white wall
- The right lighting
- Whether music is a motivator – and different genres for different tasks/moods
Security is the most major issue that organisations are concerned about with employees working from home. While at work, employees work with a managed environment, at home things are a little different.
It certainly makes sense to purchase company computers, laptops, tablets, and phones for employees to help manage security, although this isn’t always financially viable.
So what’s the best way to have a secure setup in an unmanaged space?
Locking up the house, having a security system installed, and even getting a device safe that locks up is clever. Hopefully, your employees will have good physical security practices already in their home.
An up to date router with a non-default password is a must. Your employees’ routers may need upgrading if they aren’t up to your security standards.
Devices should be encrypted by default. This is already standard on Android and iOS devices, however on Windows employees should turn on Bitlocker, and on Macs, turn on FileVault.
Ensure automatic patching and updates of operating systems and apps
Remote management of patching and updates is critical to ensure no security vulnerabilities hit employee devices.
Remote Device Find and Wipe
Like personal phones, set up employees’ devices to have automatic find my device and remote wipe enabled.
Use a business VPN as standard when working from home.
Training for Employees
With a different working arrangement, employees will need new training in how to work securely from home.
It’s definitely best to use enterprise suites for working from home, with logins available that double-check identities with multi-factor authentication.
There are some very clever solutions on the market such as Amazon Workspaces, which gives a desktop-as-a-service option to businesses, so the same secure desktop setup is available on any device.
However, we find that most of our clients gravitate towards Microsoft 365 as a secure WFH solution, as they often have Microsoft infrastructure across the workplace already.
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still be thinking about health and safety. Due to the WFH policies of many companies across Australia during Covid, this has put extra pressure on to ensure that people don’t hurt themselves while on the job in their own homes. Obviously, OH&S is easier to manage in an office environment where everything is under company control.
Health and safety considerations working from home include things like offering ergonomic equipment to employees to ensure they have a comfortable and physically safe work configuration. This may include specific office chairs, desks, keyboards, and mice. It can also include mandated work breaks to avoid staying sedentary all day. Providing access to a person who can help employees create an ergonomic setup and the right working practices at home will help. After all, slouching on the couch with a laptop all day is not going to be good for your body!
Safe Work Australia has some useful guidelines for companies interested in OH&S for WFH.
Let us help you arrange the best WFH setups
A1 Technologies can be your technology partner in reconfiguring the workplace so that working from home is as secure, optimal, and easy as possible. Reach out to us now to start the conversation.
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