Here we go again. As COVID-19 finds new strength and businesses, schools and other organizations consider shutting down their physical facilities, talk of more “work from home” arrangements is floating in the air along with the ugly virus-packed droplets.
My first thought: When did telecommuting -- a perfectly good term for three decades -- become “work from home” or “WFH”. I suppose the buzzword gods and goddesses decided that if it sounds new it must be good.
Fact is, I’ve been telecommuting for most of the past 20 years, not just as an employee but as a manager. So, I’d like to share some thoughts on how to make it work, and what can make it fail.
Plan, for Real
Step one is to come up with a plan. Telling a few thousand employees on Friday that they need to bring notebooks home because they will be working from home on Monday isn’t a plan; it’s desperation. Whether Coronavirus once again forces you into a WFH scenario or not, have a plan because it doesn’t cost anything; and there’s a good chance that some other crisis – like weather, earthquake, power outage or fire – will spur the need for WFH. Write up the plan, share it with everyone, and be ready to adapt it as circumstances change.
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