Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way that most companies do business. As nationwide stay-at-home orders were implemented, many business owners chose to shift to fully remote working operations. However, in the early weeks of the pandemic, many companies struggled to implement these emergency remote work setups. As they navigate their response to the ongoing pandemic and prepare for future emergency situations, it’s important for businesses to ensure they have a reliable remote working solution.
By assessing their business’s current preparedness for emergency situations, creating a plan for remote working setups, and communicating effectively, business owners can help minimize the impact of emergency situations on their staff and business operations as a whole.
In order to create a remote work solution that is effective and quickly implementable for your business, you have to assess the current scope of your preparedness. This means taking a thoughtful look into current company policies, workflows, and employee access to remote working tools — both hardware and software. Once you’ve identified the areas that need specific attention, you can begin preparing a plan of action.
Create a Remote Working Plan of Action
In the event of an emergency, a pre-prepared plan of action allows for a more seamless transition and gives employees the confidence they need to handle necessary changes. Every business is different, so it’s up to you and your business’s leadership team to create a remote working plan that will be effective for your specific business functions.
Although every business’s plan will be different, the following steps are great starting points to begin creating a solid plan of action.
- Determine which employees can work remotely, which can do a portion of their job remotely, and which cannot do their job remotely at all. Create unique plans of action for all positions in each category.
- Since no two teams handle their work the same way, discuss with department heads how best to support their specific team in the event of a remote working situation.
- Choose to always utilize company-wide software and hardware solutions that make remote work easier, such as file-sharing services, task management tools, communication platforms, and VPN to access work-based desktops.
- Equip employees with the necessary tools (such as laptops) and access permissions to work remotely.
- Determine how team members will be supported throughout the time they work remotely, such as regular online team meetings, events, and social gatherings.
Regardless of which remote work tools and solutions you choose, the most important tool for any business owner in creating an emergency plan is communication. Not only do employees and leadership team members need to be directly involved with the creation of the business’s emergency remote working plan, but they need to have reliable, consistent communication throughout the duration of work-from-home orders.
This means communicating company expectations, providing designated points of contact for each department, giving constant updates, and ensuring that staff members are aware of various levels of emergency protocol — such as what to do if the internet is unavailable or the power goes out while working remotely. From the moment you begin assessing preparedness to the implementation of your remote working solution, communication will be key in ensuring that the transition is smooth and your team feels supported and prepared.
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