Telecommuting, or working from home, has been a fundamental part of working in TWi since day one. In the near 10 years since the company was founded, we have developed a solid and sustainable telecommuting culture. Underpinning this culture are policies and procedures that have been developed through experience and with a clear information technology plan. Our experience has allowed us to develop a robust IT infrastructure and remote working policies that can handle sudden and unexpected changes in work location without disruption.
One of the cornerstones of our home working culture is the induction training conducted in the first days of employment with TWi. This training covers basic IT setup tasks and then progresses onto use of meeting software, soft phones, remote desktop environments, and cloud systems. Our induction training has evolved over the years to accommodate changes in technology, lessons learned, and the integration of ISO standard requirements and information security awareness.
Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines
The documents we use include the following:
- The Home Working policy is the starting place for line managers and new employees. This policy outlines the company’s expectations and the basic requirements for every employee as they telecommute.
- The Mobile Devices and Teleworking Policy outlines the information security requirements that we have prepared for use of laptops and mobile phones.
These policies reference more detailed policies on electronic messaging, information classification, social media, and ergonomics.
When an employee is familiar with all our policies and has been fully trained, they complete several agreements, including a teleworking agreement and a confidentiality agreement.
To help employees get accustomed to telecommuting, we also use a guideline document that offers advice on a safe and responsible home office setup. This document covers areas such as location of the desk and screens for security purposes, Wi-Fi security, broadband speed checks and tips, and advice on what to do if you lose internet connectivity.
As we are an ISO 27001-certified company, risk analysis is a major factor for us. We conduct new risk analyses and regularly update existing risk assessments to cover every eventuality. Where required, we implement risk treatment plans. Risk analysis has been instrumental in helping us to deal with all eventualities including weather-based events, local office-based events, and global events.
Infrastructure and Tools
We have invested in a solid and reliable IT infrastructure and tools. We use a remote-desktop-based system, where an employee can log into their own personal desktop and work as normal. Our security is managed through groups and nothing is stored or kept on the local laptop hard drives. For communication, we use several meeting and messaging tools as well as a soft phone system.
Each of our laptops is pre-installed with a remote management tool that allows IT to log in remotely to address any IT issues. This tool also delivers monthly reports on the health of all employee laptops, so we can track trends and identify whether any laptops require updates or maintenance. We also maintain several backup solutions in the cloud to keep everything safe and quickly restorable.
A robust and reliable telecommuting platform is a very achievable goal for any company. Developing a solid set of remote working policies and procedures, conducting regular risk analysis, and implementing a well-thought-out IT infrastructure will make the process of switching between home working and office working much easier for the company and for employees. We’re always happy to share what we’ve learned – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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