Written by Kevin Slafkosky, Regional VP-Clinical, East Coast
Contact him at 1.800.974.4828 ext 109, or email@example.com
Working from home (WFH) has become a hot item recently in the healthcare field! We see more and more organizations adopting different variations on this practice: WFH 1-2 days per week, WFH during inclement weather, and even true-blue full-time work from home! Now every organization has different policies related to this practice, but today we’re going to focus on the other side of the coin: what the employee should have in place to effectively work remotely.
From my conversations with different work from home nurses (RNs and LPNs/LVNs) located all over the Eastern United States, I have found that there are 3 main factors that each person should have in place before they can transition into a true work from home environment:
- SOFTWARE AND REQUISITE SKILLS
- OFFICE SETTING
Before establishing an office in your home, it is imperative to have the proper hardware set up, or you won’t be able to effectively work. Unless you know your company provides the equipment, potential remote employees should make sure they have a “work ready” laptop or desktop computer, high speed internet, and the ability to install a VOIP phone (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Having all of this set up in advance will make it an easier transition for you AND it will be a stronger way to ‘sell’ the idea and get the acceptance of your employer.
Furthermore, it might be worthwhile for you to upgrade your router for faster Wi-Fi speeds. Or consider the purchase of a second monitor for more efficient work space on your laptop. Having a printer on hand will only be useful if you feel the need to work with actual physical paper in your hands. (Not everyone does.)
Finally, a worthwhile purchase would be a wireless telephone headset, since you will be working on the phone more than you were in office. Instead of walking over to the desk/cubicle/office around the corner, you’re now going to be calling your colleagues for status checks or updates. All those calls throughout the day will start to create a kink in your neck if you must shoulder-grip the phone to type while talking!
Before making any transition into a work from home position, you should make sure to double check with your employer on what software they will install on your computer, just to be sure you’re laptop or desktop can handle it. Ideally, the employer will provide a laptop for your use, but it’s worth being a head of the game and asking these questions when setting up your home office.
A big part of working from home will require you to be your own “IT guy.” Of course, your employer will help get you set up with the appropriate software on your computer (or a company laptop), but having the ability to step in and troubleshoot issues will go a long way towards having a more effective and conducive environment for your work. Sometimes you can’t wait for Doug, from IT, to call you back to troubleshoot why your Outlook isn’t working. We’re not saying that you need be IT certified, but having an IT inclined attitude will only help!
Finally, the biggest issue that I repeatedly heard from other recruiters that work remotely or nurses that work in a remote setting was that they need to have a designated physical space for their “office work.” The difference between working at your kitchen table and having a door to close as you transition into work mode cannot be understated.
Closing the door and “going to work” is crucial for work from home employees because it provides an opportunity for the mind to reset into work items and leave behind the other issues of daily routine in your house. Additionally, some healthcare employees must be HIPAA compliant which mandates that a door must close and phone conversations cannot be overheard, so make sure to check with your HR or Supervisor if this is the case for you.
Personally, I work from home only a couple times a month (a maximum of 2 or 3 days at the most), but I am grateful that CareNational is the kind of open-minded company that gives us the option to do so! I actually enjoy the energy of the office and being able to coordinate and work with everyone on my team rather quickly. However, I am also one of those rarities who are lucky enough to walk to work every day, so I’m never fighting the commute to and from work. In the end, no matter how you feel, if you are going to be productive when working from home, the key is preparation in having the right hardware, software, and office setting.
If you would like to speak more about this topic, or for career/consulting opportunities, contact the author, Kevin Slafkosky, the Regional VP for the East Coast from our Baltimore, MD office. Contact him at 1.800.974.4828 ext 109, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org