By Joe Morris, Writer, HealthStream
This blog post is based off of an Industry Insight Webinar: Disaster and Telehealth Privileging During the COVID-19 National Emergency.
The concept of working remotely, or working from home (WFH), has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. For some industry sectors, it makes sense because employees are based around the country, even the world, and so keeping office space would be cost-prohibitive. For others, WFH is seen as an essential part of a competitive incentives package, particularly for Millennial and Generation Z employees. And now, of course, WFH has become a reality for businesses of all types and sizes, including healthcare providers, say VerityStream’s Lisa Rothmuller, AVP for Consulting Services, and Kay Lynn Akers, Consulting Advisor.
So, how to make the most of a WFH situation? Start with technology, says Akers, who breaks it down into major categories:
Computers. If your employees don’t have company-issued laptops, can they bring their desktop machines home? What restrictions are there for using a home computer? Is there a VPN network to enhance security for remote operations?
Internet connection. Does a home office have the right speed for web and video conferencing? Is the home network and router configuration properly password protected?
Telephones. According to the CDC, only 43 percent of American households had a landline as of the end of 2018. Will employees use company issued or personal cell phones, web-calling programs or some other communication method?
Printers. In medical staff offices, there could be sensitive, personal health information being received. So when allowing staff to work remotely, printing documents must be very clearly communicated. So, if your organization is not paperless yet, this should also be considered.
Peripherals. Don’t forget things like pens, notepads, cables, mice, mouse pads, headphones, monitors and all the other things found in the regular office workspace.
Program access. Do employees need VPN to access network files, programs? Can you use One Drive or SharePoint or other solutions for centralized secure documents storage?
Technical concerns aside, a WFH situation can also be greatly enhanced — or diminished — by the setup of the physical location.
“The area you work in when remote affects how successful you may be,” Akers says. “Where will you be working in your home? You want to locate or identify a location which is comfortable, yet if possible separate from where others may be roaming about and causing interruptions.”
And whether you're using a home office, a dining room table, kitchen table or office desk think about ergonomics, she notes, pointing out that “eight hours or more is sitting on the couch with a laptop is definitely not ergonomic.”
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