Your employees and business must change their habits far in advance in order to be prepared properly for a disaster. Long before Hurricane Sandy, SARS, or Covid-19 our employees have been storing their files in the cloud with backups on multiple continents at the press of a button. These actions are seamless to employees but integral to managements ensuring continuity of our business should a global issue arise, Blue Fountain Media, a Pactera EDGE Company, has set up multiple redundancies beyond our file storage system to ensure our business will continue to service our clients without a single point of failure.
With concerns about COVID-19 increasing rapidly, modern prepared businesses are gearing up for a fast transition to an all-remote workforce. However, many companies are feeling unprepared for the change, not to mention the business challenges that could arise in the weeks (and months) ahead.
As a NYC-based Technology Consulting Agency with thousands of employees all over the world, Blue Fountain Media has a great depth and breadth of experience with running a business with a decentralized workforce, and we’d love to share some tips to help your organization.
Here’s how to help employees stay productive at home and prevent business disruption during an emergency:
Communicating and collaborating
Most businesses use at least one communication platform at work, expanding these technologies to other employees shouldn’t be too complicated. But for businesses without a communication solution, it’s easy to feel lost.
Communication and collaboration platforms help cross the barriers and facilitate employee productivity, enabling teams to stay in touch at the office, at home, or on the go. If you’re looking for a good solution for your business, here are just a few of the top platforms to consider:
Communication & Productivity Platforms
- Skype for Business
- Microsoft Teams
Having tested out these tools along with a few others, BFM chose Teams and Zoom as our primary communication tools for different reasons. Where Teams works great for quick internal discussions, meetings, and collaboration, we lean on Zoom for everything else, like client meetings, brainstorms, and other types of video and audio-conferencing needs.
Accessing internal files and documents
Because internal documents aren’t always available remotely, preparing your business processes in advance will be key to maintaining business continuity. For good reason, employees should not be storing their work on their local machine and in times of emergency, all of the work ensuring that your file storage system is available in the cloud will pay off! It is also far more convenient in everyday life to be able to access documents from whatever terminal an employee happens to be using at that moment.
Using a cloud storage system such as Microsoft One Drive, which is built into Office 365 and can automatically sync your files, make remote access of current work as easy as pressing the save button correctly and stores your files in the Azure Cloud as safely as you could ever dream of.
Updating Work-From-Home Policies
According to Upwork’s 2018 Future Workforce Report, over half of companies don’t have work-from-home (WFH) policies in place, which has left many businesses scrambling for ways to implement them quickly. As your business puts together its WFH policy, here are some important things to keep in mind.
Establish expectations early so employees know what hours they should be available and how work should be performed
Provide the proper communication tools and channels (e.g. email, chat, video) to ensure people stay in touch and continue to collaborate effectively
Coordinate any technology needs like laptops, monitors, and software to prevent downtime
Define security requirements to protect private information, which may include setting up a VPN, and providing information on password and file sharing, as well as company device usage
Outline ways for employees to get support, whether it’s through human resources, IT, their managers, or other employees
Since the Coronavirus epidemic started, our HR team has stayed in touch with our employees daily to reiterate work-from-home policies and help employees set up virtual offices at home. While it’s been a big adjustment for everyone, having a policy in place has helped us continue our work with minimal disruption.
Keeping things normal (as possible)
Employees used to daily work in the office could miss out on opportunities to socialize with colleagues and clients, which can ultimately hurt morale. This makes it all the more important to have managers schedule regular one-on-one check-ins and team meetings to help people feel more connected.
Ensuring things stay normal should also be applied to the whole organization. From town hall meetings, to performance reviews, to new hire training and onboarding, maintaining business operations should account for items that aren’t always revenue generation related.
Lastly but most importantly, with all the stress employees are encountering as a result of Covid-19, continuing to create a fun and friendly workplace is still the best way to keep people productive. Anything your business can do to make the day more enjoyable, inspirational, and engaging should pay off during the transition, and be something employees remember when things return to normal.
We know a lot of readers will be coming to terms with what this means from a business perspective and maybe even working remote for the first time. We’ve tested many different approaches and know that it can be quite daunting to get right. As part of our technology consulting offerings, we would love to assist your organization in ensuring a smooth transition for your company, from one who’s reliant upon your office, to one where the office is certainly a nice to have but not a disruptive factor to your business continuity. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you’d like to continue this conversation offline.