Preparing for Emergency Remote Work, Business Interruptions, and Continuity

There are simple ways that employers can help keep their team productive, focused, and psychologically healthy during difficult times. The right technology tools, proper adoption, and clear communications are of the utmost importance. 

Here are some tips to help you build your emergency plan:

 

Confirm everyone knows how to log into 365 or G Suite online and access their email, calendar and Office software (Excel, Word, PowerPoint). 

Put an IM Chat system into place, such as Microsoft Teams or Google Hangout.

 

Have everyone bring home devices such as laptops, webcams, phone and computer headsets, phones, desktop scanners, printers

 

Pre-schedule a daily huddle video call, in later morning when kids are settled down, with your team to check on their mental state and help get them into work mode. Side benefit: this huddle will build a great habit of getting dressed for work, which calms the nerves as it makes staff feel like they are in control of something and have a purpose beyond worrying about the world and their health.

 

Make sure mobile apps are setup for the online CRM, Document, Video Call, IM, and Project Management tools.

 

Learn how to setup your phones to forward to cell phones (and be ready to put that into place).

Start a group text among all staff and ask everyone to keep it on their phones indefinitely and to NOT use it for regular chatter. It is only to be used for urgent messages that everyone needs to know. IM is for the regular intra-day chatter.

Ask your staff to email you privately if they are using their cell phones for work, don’t have unlimited cell and data plans, and might need reimbursement for overage costs. You can pay for them to upgrade to unlimited or for the overage.

If possible, hook your computer to your modem via an Ethernet cord. It helps speed up your computer programs.

Have you staff check their internet speed as this impacts the speed of their software programs. If the speed is below 5, you might consider paying for them to upgrade their speed or acknowledge that their computer might drag a little.

Limit internal staff meetings to occur between 9-4 pm. Productivity is waning after 4pm due to kids being home, fatigue from flip flopping among family and work moments, and mourning losses of freedom and lives. All internal meetings should end by 4 pm. You will see productivity and task completion increase during the days and weeks to follow. And if you don’t believe me, just try it for 4 weeks and then tell me I was wrong.

Be compassionate and reach out to staff that are having a difficult time finding a quiet place to work. You don’t want them going to work in their basement or a dark no window room so help them think about possible solutions.

Benefits

Being prepared for a disaster that prevents working at the office will help to:

  • Maintain productivity
  • Encourage staff to do their best
  • Provide for business continuity
  • Retain employees
  • Ensure minimal disruption to business

Exercise

If you want more tips, you can listen to or watch a few 2 minute videos below.

Reflect and Prioritize

You will need to manage expectations about productivity up front and start by trusting that every team member is working to the best of their ability during disruptive times. You should also schedule synchronous conversations with teams, and one-on-ones as needed, to discuss these expectations and provide opportunities for team members to share their concerns.

These actions will prime your business for short-term success as well as build the framework for a more in-depth, long-term work during business interruptions and remote work.

If you learned anything new, please add the epiphany and actionable idea to your Master Plan of Ideas and Initiatives. Documenting brings things to life!