Essex marketing agency, VerriBerri, is enforcing home working for all staff due to the recent COVID -19 outbreak. They have spent the last few days preparing internally so that this plan can be smoothly implemented as soon as possible.
Managing Director Sarah Kauter says, ‘I do not think, realistically, that my team are at high risk of contracting coronavirus. However, I believe that SME’s not just in our region but across the United Kingdom should take a stance to protect employees. Their wellbeing should always be a priority. Additionally, it is my responsibility to protect the business interests, and as a result of that the livelihoods of the staff. If someone in the team falls ill and passes that on internally, we could be too sick to work which would mean clients don’t need to pay and I wouldn’t be able to keep up with wages. By doing this, that will not happen as we are ahead of any potential curve.’
Sarah offers the following advice to any other employers, regarding the steps she has taken to facilitate this movement.
- All the team have downloaded ‘Zoom’ so at 9am each morning we can have a department conference call and have a quick daily update on how the workload is to be distributed. With technology being so powerful, there is no reason remote working needs to lose effectiveness.
- We already run a time/client monitoring device called ‘Clockify’ so we will be able to monitor how our clients hours are being spent to ensure best practice is upheld. This is a free / inexpensive app, depending on how much flexibility you need.
- It’s important that each department still runs as normal, which includes HR. I will be running my payroll and HR remotely, using a site called Spettro, which is extremely low cost and allows employees to have access to any HR information they may need.
- I have encouraged the team to take their computers and any other devices they need from the office so that they do not need to use personal tech for company use.
- The team are going to ensure that they take breaks at the normal times, to encourage routine. I have also asked them, where possible, to set up their home office away from areas they relax, so that they feel like they aren’t being surrounded by work.
- We have also asked all the team to make sure they get dressed and don’t work in pyjamas, so that they feel in ‘work mode’.
- A central database has been set up that we can all access any information we require.
- All phonelines are being diverted to mobiles for the interim period.
- To keep up morale and show a united front, the team will be chronicling the working from home journey on their Instagram story each day, @verriberridigital.