The COVID-19 crisis of 2020 has changed the nature of work, although the tech community hasn’t seen its day-to-day work routines be as affected as other professions. At least, trips to headquarters have become rare and far between. At most, the need for a dedicated workspace for an in-home office has never been as explicit as now. Here is how your company can support engineers to set up dedicated workspaces.

How good is your dedicated workspace?

Even though your team members aren’t in the office, they may still need support in setting up a good work environment. There are several ways in which your company can support them in this.

The aim is to create dedicated office spaces, even when working from home. Some examples of what your company can do:

  1. Develop a checklist on which conditions are to be met: equipment, connectivity, ergonomics, and so on.
  2. Carry out a survey to assess whether your team does have proper fixtures in place. 
  3. Include these as requirements to remote work, either in contract or as SLAs with team members.
  4. Set aside a budget to support your team members with costs relevant to structuring these. Say, providing X dollars for equipment or minor contractor work upon hiring. 

Regardless if they have chosen to rent coworking space or work from home, focus time is important. As productivity has it, isolation from distractions and noise is necessary. Add security concerns to the mix: it becomes obvious software professionals cannot work from public places. Cafes are a no-no, for example.

Basic communication gear is not enough

Do your team members have to bring their own AirPods? This might not seem like a big concern at first, but as remote collaboration becomes more common, Zoom and Hangouts take over. 

If anything, you need to over-communicate – and that means ensuring call quality. Light and sound factor in. Your company should be looking to provide noise-canceling headsets and a decent camera. 

If it is a client-facing position (let’s say, support), you might even consider a ring light or equivalent. We will always recommend video calls instead of phoning in. Eye contact is a key part of human communication. Body language is as important as tone of voice.

Company-provided hardware always

We get it, young startups have yet to generate revenue and raise funding. Bring your own device (BYOD) or bring your own technology (BYOT) are common practices, but risky. Allowing your team to use personally owned equipment compromises delivery. In worst-case scenarios, it enables data breach.

Company-provided hardware should include not only computers but also monitors and any extra devices. The classic “it’s better to be safe than sorry” saying is sound advice.

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Redundant connectivity is non-negotiable

When it comes to building distributed teams, the cloud is your shared work environment. If your team members are not online, it is as if they don’t exist. 

Insist on redundant connectivity. Anyone and everyone on your team should have:

  • At least two internet providers. One high-speed one for everyday use, and another for backup in case of service shortage.
  • Electricity backup. No break is a must, generator is a welcome plus in case something causes power outages.

Although it is true that natural forces (such as storms) spare no-one, these two requirements help avoid the hassle. It is the case of network maintenance, for example. 

The impact of workspace quality

So why do we at Ubiminds recommend investing and guiding your employees towards setting up dedicated workspaces? Because it matters. And it’s not all about productivity, either. 

When you show concern for the team’s health and well-being not just to avoid sick days, but also because you as company care… then that is priceless. It impacts attrition rates, your value as an employer brand, and so much more! Caring about your employees shows what kind of people and mindsets you want to bring in.

Do your team members have dedicated workspaces that are adequate for them to do their best?

Take Ubiminds’ Distributed Culture Maturity Assessment and find out whether your product team is ready to thrive through distributed work. We’ll provide you insights on which points are most important for your specific scenario, free of charge.

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