Coronavirus: Preparing Your Organization for Remote Work

[Updated 3/17/2020]

With COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the United States, more and more organizations are starting to think of their business in new ways and put new policies into place to help prevent the spread of the infection. With the new guidelines in place, large venue events like South by Southwest Film Festival and Coachella are being canceled or postponed, the only sports we're currently getting are highlights and re-runs of previous games, and many organizations are leveraging online platforms for virtual events instead of their previously planned conferences.

Let's dive in and talk about what questions you should be asking yourself about your business and what steps you can take when it comes to best preparing your organization for the Coronavirus.

Watch our on-demand webinar - How to Empower Your Business & Stay Productive with our CEO Sean Ferrel.

What does Coronavirus mean for you and your business?

Here are a few recommendations to help you better prepare:

  1. Develop contingency plans. If one of your partners can no longer deliver their product or services, what does that mean for you and your customers? If one of your employees becomes sick/quarantined, or if their kids' schools get shut down, and they need to stay home with them, make sure there is a backup plan for their responsibilities.
  2. Prepare for loss or delay in sales. People are being extremely cautious right now, which means decisions for new products and services may be delayed.
  3. Communicate to and educate your employees. Make sure your employees are aware of your contingency plans and new or temporary remote work policies. This is also a time of vulnerability, and unfortunately, we see people take advantage of that through phishing and other malicious attacks. Make sure your employees are well equipped to spot a fake email.
  4. Develop your work remote policy. In the event that one of your employees gets infected or your city becomes quarantined, you still have a business to run. Make sure you have the right plans, tools, resources and infrastructure in order to enable and empower a remote workforce.

For a complete list, check out the CDC's Business Pandemic Planning Checklist PDF.

While the CDC checklist pertains to all aspects of the business from HR to leadership, it's imperative that you have a plan in place for employees to continue working in the event that your physical office location cannot be accessed.   Are you prepared if tomorrow you had to enact a remote workforce?


A Checklist for Preparing Your Business for a Remote Workforce

While many organizations today have already adapted a flexible work remote policy and/or employee full-time remote employees, there are still many businesses worldwide who have never even considered it (maybe until recently).  It's imperative that your infrastructure is capable in times of crisis, and it's easier than ever in 2020 with the right technology and tools. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself as you prepare for a remote workforce:

  1. Do you and your employees have the ability to access the right files?
  2. Do you and your employees have a way to share files in a secure way?
  3. Do you have mobile collaboration? In other words, do you have the right software and tools to communicate effectively from anywhere?
  4. Are you able to manage multiple employee devices securely? (Laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc)
  5. Do you have a business continuity plan?
  6. Who is handling your infrastructure on-premise?  For example, if something breaks and your server needs to be tended to, who can you rely on for that? If they get sick, who is your backup?
  7. Do you have a threat protection and prevention plan in place? During times of crisis, we often see that people try to take advantage of this vulnerability and phishing attacks increase. What do you have in place to help mitigate risk?

At Managed Solution, we have a flexible work remote policy, so we are no strangers on how to effectively work remotely.

Need help? Don't fret, whether you need to consult on the infrastructure to support it, the tools and software to empower your employees' productivity or need back up in the case of real danger, we can help. Contact us before it's too late. It can never hurt to have a plan in place.


Remote Work Tips: How to Stay Productive

  1. Make a communication plan: How do you plan to reach one another? Will email suffice? Probably not if for an extended time. Work with your IT team to set up call forwarding from work phones to cell phones. Exchange cell phone information if you haven't already. What other means of communication channels are available to you? Things like Skype, Teams, Slack, and Google Hangout are all available for instant messaging and video conferencing. If your company isn't already using one of those platforms, find out the best option for you and create a plan for its use.
  2. Use video. In addition to communicating, when away for extended periods, we might start to feel disconnected. By using video when talking with colleagues or in meetings, you still get a taste of that human interaction.
  3. Stick to your schedule: Maintain your regular working hours. People are relying on you just as you are them, so it's important to stick to your regularly scheduled programming. If you have to be offline for any reason, make sure you're communicating it to people who should be aware.
  4. Set ground rules with the people you live with. If you have kids, make sure they know that you're still 'at work' even though you are home - and let them know what they can and can't do during your office hours. If you have roommates, make sure there are boundaries set for things like quiet hours or use of the office space.
  5. Have a dedicated office space. This one can vary on your living space. If you have an extra office room, great, but if not, try to dedicate a desk or table that's just for work. That way, you stay focused and others around you know when you're working.
  6. Stay positive. Tone is hard to decipher via text only, so when communicating via email or IM, use the extra exclamation point or add in an emoji.

If this all feels a little overwhelming, we're quite the experts here whether you need more tips on remote work, or need help enabling remote work at your organization, and we would be more than happy to help. Click here to contact us to see how we can help your organization prepare.

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