Since so many right now are working from home, either voluntarily or because your employer wants you to work in your home office, the questions comes up what are some working from home regulations you should know.
4 basic rules are:
- Don't steal working time
- Keep work information confidential
- Set the rules with your employer
- Dress professionally
Don't steal working time
As this sounds obvious, it still can be to tempting to.
Lets assuming your employer has told you that he is going to have you logging in from home. Maybe your employer has software with a punch in, punch out system. So far so good.
But as we already know, there's going to be those that want to take advantage of the situation and just log into their system in the morning, leaving it open all day and spend the day watching Netflix videos.
That certainly is a very bad idea. What every employee needs to know is that the software that the employers are giving you allows them to spy on you. And embed within your program, your employer can see your license keystrokes, log in and log out times, activity reports, and so on.
Of course, the temptation to take it a bit easy is large. And it’s especially very difficult when there are kids, dogs, movies, and all kinds of distractions when you are working from home.
But the fast is: You are being paid to work.
Therefore, try to do as good as you can to remain professional and do the job you being paid to perform. Don’t let your employer even think to believe that you are stealing time. Because technically that is exactly what it is, you're being paid to work and you're not working. That is a legitimate reason for your employer to fire you.
The market is changing rapidly at the moment. And it will most likely be a nightmare to find a new job anytime over the next months.
Therefore, now is the time to dig in and show your employer that you are one of the employees they need to keep going.
There are going to be mass firings and unemployment is going to spike. And if you now take the opportunity to take advantage of your employer while working from home and not working, you got a big problem.
Instead, apply the same rules of the workplace to your home.
Take your break when you normally would do that in your office as well. But don't start taking the excessive breaks because again, it's going to be tracked.
Keep work information confidential
Other things that arise when working from home can cause a problem.
Make sure that other people that may be in your house are not getting access to your employer's information. That may be confidential. That's another way you get fired very fast,
Also, make sure that your kids can not log into your system and play with your employer's or client's information.
Lawyers reported cases where kids logged into the system, got confidential information, or banking information from potential clients and they start sharing it with their friends.
Other children got access to the postage account of the employer, and they start buying and shipping things and the employee's account on the internet.
So lock away confidential information and use a good password to secure your computer access.
Set the rules with your employer
Another problem could arise in regard to working from home skills. Not everyone is a tech freak and with all these new ways to communicate, some might feel a bit lost and not really sure how to get things done. So, discuss that with your employer openly before starting to work remotely.
Other questions you need to ask your employer might be:
- Does your employer require fix working schedule or hours are flexible?
- Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi?
- What tools do you need for your work (Zoom, Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Dropbox, and so on)?
- Does your employer provide a laptop? What network access and bandwidth do you need?
- What passcodes and instructions for remote login do you need?
Therefore, it's important from day one for you to have an open dialogue with your employer. Especially when the work from your home office differs from the tools you have available in your regular office.
For example, you may be used to two or three screens at the office, but when you are logging in from home, you're logging in from one computer with one screen and your efficiency may suffer.
So have a clear and fair conversation early on with your employer. Let him know exactly what's going on.
Like in our example let him know that you normally have 2 screens and you learned to do things this way. Now you only have one and you are having difficulties to work that way.
If you have this kind of communication with your employer he will understand why things may take a bit longer and productivity is not as it used to be.
Next, personal grooming, hygiene, professionalism.
Just because you're working from home, don't let yourself go. Don't stop shaving. Don't stop putting on makeup.
We act how we feel and how we look.
If you start just grubbing around in your underwear, you're going to be unproductive. Studies clearly made that connection. So dress for success. Of course, that does not mean that you should put on a three-piece suit with a vest if you're working from home.
But dress just as you would go to work in your office. If that's a pair of khakis and a button-down or a polo, then wear that. Don't lose all sense or semblance of reasonableness.
The article "Should I have a work-from-home dress code?" in our blog goes into more detail.
At some point in the future, this is going to be over and you're going to have to go back into the workplace. So don’t develop a habit of getting lazy.
Don't go through work at home in the mindset to just take it easy. This will have a negative effect on your work ethic, your productivity, and your professionalism.
If you feel tired take a vacation. But don’t use this time while you are working from home to relax. This isn't a vacation.
And always remember that employers are struggling right now. They're going to continue to struggle, and they're going to look for folks that they can downsize. It is not illegal to downsize you if the economy continues to crash and business is slowing down.
So if you're one of those folks who don't stand out while working from home, you may be one of the folks who get fired.
And if there're any issues that arise, obviously you always talk to your manager. If you are sick and you can’t work talk to H.R. Just keep open communication with your employer.
Use the time now to make yourself an indispensable rock star.
If you've got to work from home you have a great opportunity to show your employer that he really can count on you in difficult times.
Don't lose sight of what's actually happening. Businesses need to continue to run. Employers need to continue to rely on their employees.