With the World Health Organisation officially declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, US President Donald Trump suspending travel from 26 European countries and a total of 2,626 (and rising) cases of Covid-19 in the UK alone, the world economy may appear to be in utter chaos, but in the land of “Keep Calm and Carry On,” when has panicking ever been an option?
The answer, of course — as you have probably often heard in the media — is to self-isolate and work from home. After all, by switching over to remote operations, we can lessen the disruption to supply chains and ensure that our businesses survive. But how exactly can this feat be accomplished, and what are some tips from our remote-friendly teams? Read on!
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
First and foremost, it is important to be well aware of the symptoms that may come to plague your business.
According to the NHS’ website, the three main signs of a covid-19 infection are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath, but because these symptoms will tend to mimic other illnesses — such as the flu or even the common cold — do not hesitate to send home employees as soon as any one of them is reported.
Preparing your infrastructure
On that note, by the way, for companies that do not yet possess any form of remote or flexible work policy, now would definitely be a great time to draft one. After all, though without the infrastructure to back it up, making this switch might seem a practical impossibility, by employing the tools below, this will actually be a lot more straightforward than you think:
Which tools should be used for remote work?
When dealing with remote teams, Slack becomes our company’s virtual office. This is where we can discuss ongoing projects, share work-related files, and even hold casual “watercooler” conversations. In addition, by making use of separate channels, such as #general, #marketing or #projectplan, we restrict communication to selected parties and make progress in an organised environment.
Trello, on the other hand, is our company’s task management system of choice. The web app allows its users to create a number of individual columns and move tasks swiftly between them as the state of their project advances. For instance, a card may be created with the title “Update stakeholders” and placed in any one of the following sections: “To do,” “In progress” or “Finished.” In this way, not only will managers keep abreast of employee progress, but workers too can remain on top of their various targets.
3. Google Docs
For any other documentation — such as contracts, records and spreadsheets — Google Docs is an exceptional word processor. Its real-time collaboration tools make the app an ideal remote solution, as it unleashes the power of teamwork irrespective of time zones or distance.
4. Google Hangouts and Skype
Next, because no amount of text is ever a substitute for a face-to-face conversation, we recommend taking advantage of video conferencing in the form of apps like Google Hangouts or Skype. This choice will ultimately be a matter of preference, but all in all, both applications are extremely solid, as they enable holding meetings with multiple users as well as recording individual sessions.
And finally, for your convenience and peace of mind, you can turn to time tracking software to keep an eye on your workers for you! By tracking employee mouse and keyboard activity, as well as taking periodical screenshots of their desktops, time trackers such as Tahometer enable companies to keep the show moving forward.
If you require any other domain-specific applications, by the way, you can of course also make use of them in conjunction with the tools listed above.
Run a one-day remote work simulation
Now that your infrastructure is finally in place, we recommend running a lockdown simulation. After all, with time running relentlessly against us, what better way to educate employees than by embracing a hands-on trial? This was recently accomplished by American executive Marc Cenedella, so if you’re wondering how to do it yourself, you should certainly check out his story.
How else should companies deal with the coronavirus?
Of course, the other side of the story is prevention. At Software Planet Group, for instance, in addition to the measures above, we are taking a number of preventative actions:
- Our offices are undergoing regular deep-cleaning
- We have increased the availability of hand sanitisers
- We are educating our employees on how best to prevent or limit the spread of the virus
- Colleagues returning from high-risk areas are being asked to work from home for 14 days irrespective of symptoms
- We are suspending all public events and will not take part in conferences in the months of March and April.
Communicate your strategy
Above all, SPG believe that every company should be prepared for the worst case scenario, whilst remaining perfectly calm and embracing technology to help weather this storm. By educating customers on your unique Covid-19 strategy, you can greatly minimise disruption and ensure the pandemic will not become a panic-demic.
As always, let us know if you have any questions!