Tips for working at home
Written by Sue van Elteren
Posted on 5 Apr 2020 - 5 minutes read
The Corona crisis demands a lot of flexibility from employers. Companies are forced to work from home, because the business has to keep going. Working from home is easier said than done, because it is not really part of our Caribbean corporate culture. The Celery team in Curaçao has been working from home since March 16. For us it was a relatively small switch, because all our activities are digital. All our data is online, the tools we work with are online, all employees have a laptop that goes home every day. Only the plant in the office probably will not survive. In this blog we give you as an employer tips about working from home from our own experience.
Tip 1: A good workplace for your employees
It is very tempting for employees (and perhaps for yourself too) to scroll through the daily emails on the couch with the laptop on your lap. However, try to avoid this. Advise your employees about a good workplace. Be proactive with tips, inquire per employee whether he / she has the right resources to work at home without any worries. If necessary (and possible) arrange a laptop for the employee, ask about the internet quality and offer to temporarily take office properties such as keyboard, mouse, office chair, file folders, etc.
Practical tips for your employees
- Create an indoor space that serves as a workspace. Agree with the family that it is peaceful and quiet in that room.
- If you do not have an office chair, use a dining table chair and make it more comfortable if necessary by using a cushion in the back.
- In Curaçao we have a lot of reflection on the screen, so place the table so that the sunlight does not fall into the screen. If necessary, use something to shield the window.
- Is a laptop used? Then put it on a stack of books and connect a separate mouse and keyboard.
- Bother the noise in the rest of the house, use headphones. Agree with the family that Dad and / or Mum should not be disturbed if they have the headphones on.
Tip 2: Use online tools
Working from home becomes a lot easier if the company works with “cloud based software”. The Celery team itself uses more than 20 online tools. Below an overview of the most important one for us.
File sharing: Dropbox plus Boxcryptor
Celery works with highly confidential data. It is therefore very important to us that files are protected. All our internal data is stored via a company subscription to Dropbox. The management has determined for each employee who can view and / or edit which files. All files in our Dropbox are extra secure. This extra security runs via Boxcryptor. That is software that encrypts files.
All Celery mail addresses run via Google. We have a business subscription to Google Suite (G Suite) so that all email addresses are managed from 1 central point. This environment is managed by our Technical Director. You can log in to the work email at home via Google.
Internal communication: Google Meet, Slack, WhatsApp
At Celery we use 3 tools to communicate. For group conversations with video (for example the weekly meeting on Monday) we use Google Meet, which is the business version of Google Hangouts. Google Meet is free for Google business users. We use Slack at team level. This is a free chat tool for teams. The advantage of Slack is that you can chat per subject. That way, no communication gets mixed up. For 1 to 1 calls, we call via WhatsApp. Preferably with video, because just chatting with text often causes miscommunication.
HR management and Payroll: Celery
Of course we work internally with our own software. We use Celery for payroll processing so that all our employees can view or download their payslip via their own online environment. We use the HRM module for registration of sickdays and holidays. Employees submit a leave request online for vacation or special leave and can report sick and better online. All personnel files are also digital, so there are no thick folders in our office (and now also not at home).
Password management: 1Password
Many online tools mean a lot of passwords. At Celery we have a strict password policy. This means that all passwords are unique and consist of many different characters. We use the online tool 1Password to generate and remember all these passwords. That is an online vault in which all passwords are stored. This vault is secured with 1 unique personal master password. At management level, it is determined which employee has access to which passwords. Working through 1Password forces the employee to use unique complex passwords and helps them use them. Remembering passwords is no longer necessary.
Tip 3: Ensure good internal communication and structure
It is a bit of a search for a good method, but try to structure the (home) company as quickly as possible. Directors and managers should realize that they are probably not getting around to their own work at the beginning, but are mainly busy giving instructions. Start the week with a joint meeting and then schedule meetings at team level. Have employees make a day planning. Discuss this with them in the morning and let them report (briefly) about their activities at the end of the day. Give employees the feeling of involvement, because that creates enthusiasm.
Within our Celery team we try to make video calls as much as possible, because through text chat miscommunication can quickly arise. Via video calling you can also see the facial expressions and emotions of the employees and you can respond better to this as an employer or manager. Then confirm appointments and assignments by e-mail.
Stay home, keep your distance, hold on
The Corona crisis demands a lot of flexibility from employers, but also from employees. Stay home and hang on. Only in this way can we overcome the virus and our island will soon be the old one again. If you have any questions about salary processing during Corona times, do not hesitate to ask. Our support team works from home, but will do everything in its power to continue to help you.
– Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Phone: +59996795538
– Whatsapp: +59996795538
Support is always free!
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