Covid-19 Corona virus continues to spread and creates uncertainty for the economy. Trade fairs and congresses are canceled or postponed to a later date to limit or at least slow down the spread of the virus.
Companies issue rules of conduct to their employees, such as refraining from shaking hands to greet them, closing canteens as a precaution, or distributing employees in a different location than before.
But what to do if one or more employees are quarantined or even the company is closed by the authorities for a certain time? Not all employees of a company under quarantine will fall ill. Depending on the task at hand, you could work in the home office if the technical requirements are in place. The same also applies if the employee is not affected at all, but the children in need of supervision cannot go to the day-care or school because they have been closed by the authorities.
The digitization of jobs and the economy is no longer just an abstract, propagated requirement of business practices. It faces really small, medium-sized companies and large corporations when work remains unfinished because there are not enough staff on site.
Consideration is very obvious, that of the workplace at home – the home office.
What Is Needed for A Home Office Workplace?
A little note in advance: In the following, we only consider the software and hardware aspects that we believe should be considered for the home office. In this consideration, there are no employment laws or other tips, reviews, classifications for home office jobs.
A home office should have certain basic equipment. Ideally, of course, it is a bright study with ergonomic furniture and the necessary technical hardware such as PC / laptop, monitor, if necessary, Voice over IP (VOIP) as well as a stable and fast internet connection. If you set up a so-called Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection, the laptop works from home as if it were a “normal” part of the company network.
This basic equipment meets the respective operational requirements. An outdated laptop or discarded PC is of no use unless the necessary software is running on it.
Equipped with Software
Of course, the equipment with software for a home office depends on the respective operational circumstances and the work activity of the employee. So, there is not one software package that a home office laptop or PC is perfectly equipped with.
Software Basic Equipment
Here, too, there is the basic software that a laptop or PC should have, as it should be used as an office.
In addition to the absolute basic requirement of an operating system, there are also corresponding text, spreadsheets, and email programs. The scope of these office programs is also based on the corresponding requirements. Both open-source and proprietary programs are generally suitable for this basic set of office programs.
In any case, the basic equipment should include a security program that offers protection against threats from the Internet using a firewall and anti-virus program, etc. Such programs are already part of operating systems.
A small selection of security tips should give you a feeling that you not only have to pay attention to the software but that there are other aspects when using mobile devices or home office PCs.
Pay attention to the separation of devices used for business and private devices!
Make sure that the IT administrator only allows the possibilities of using the really necessary device. Example: Block the possibility to load damaged files onto the computer via DVD drives or USB etc. and then onto the company network.
Do not only train employees in the use of the software but also sensitize them to the security in handling e-mails etc.
Also instruct your employees not to use open hotspots such as in restaurants, cafés, and hotels.
Responsible use of company laptops also includes keeping them safe. Employees should logically not leave them lying around on trains, planes, etc., and also not allow other family members, etc. access at home.
The Corona Virus will certainly lead to further considerations regarding digitization in some companies. The development of modern, digital strategies for companies should also continue to be pursued regardless of the current challenges.
Of course, global events can also result in the exact opposite of digitization. At the moment, however, no one will probably want to return to the “Middle Ages”, restrict themselves to regional trade, and go back to paper and pencil.
What is needed, therefore, is the faster restructuring of companies and administrations, wherever it is possible to be internet-enabled, and cloud services and software as a service (SaaS) over the Internet. Then, shortly, companies will be better prepared for the effects of epidemics, volcanic ash that affects air traffic, etc.