Are you ready to close your doors in the event of a shelter-in-place order or stay at home order in your county? Does your business continuity plan include an emergency remote-work plan in the event of a shelter in place order?
Many businesses are scrambling to answer these questions. Answering these questions will not only help prepare you to handle this crisis but may alter the way you think about your business and the way you have been operating. Many Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, etc. ) are experiencing a temporary shelter in place order that will last three weeks. Being able to work remotely is vital.
Make the most of this time to communicate with an HR Partner to deeply understand how your business can successfully navigate this crisis. These emergency preparations can set your business up to handle change or disruption today and tomorrow. Do you have a remote work plan in place in the event of a shelter in place order to keep your business operational?
All or part of your workforce may need to work remotely.
Just sending everybody home with a laptop won’t work. Transitioning to remote work requires careful planning for it to work well. Use this time to develop a plan for managing remote work. Collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that your policy is well-conceived and structured to minimize disruption. Prepare as though remote work may become indefinite.
You will likely find that not all jobs are equal. Most organizations have positions that fit into one of three categories:
- Can be handled remotely,
- Can’t be handled remotely
- and Could potentially be handled remotely with modifications
Be flexible in your thinking. There is a difference between what must be done on-site, and what you may prefer to have done on-site. An innovative approach requires that you carefully weigh these decisions, be flexible, and be willing to make accommodations as needed.
Inventory your software tools, applications, and bandwidth to identify gaps.
What technology is needed for your employees to work remotely? Can they access the necessary files and systems from home? Are they comfortable doing so? What equipment will you pay for or reimburse? Business owners, leaders, and supervisors must assess readiness for remote work by answering these questions. Before sending employees to work from home, make sure that they have been properly trained to work with less support and supervision, and they understand what is expected of them.
Clarify your communication plan.
Create an emergency communication plan that ensures your employees can stay informed and in touch. Multiple contact methods should be in place, including phone, email, tools such as Slack, Google Teams, and video conferencing like Zoom Meetings. Be clear about expectations for response times and how teams will work together.
Ways to measure performance that could inform broader change.
There is a lot that will be learned from such times. Organizations can try new ways of working and may even find that some arrangements work so well that they are continued after the crisis has passed. What worked? What didn’t? What would you do differently?
Pay close attention to how your teams and departments work together during this time. Maybe you don’t have to have your employees travel so much. Virtual teleconferencing can be a viable alternative for business travel, reducing your costs and carbon emissions at the same time.
The emergency remote-work plan you put in place now can benefit you in the future. Taking these action steps will help your business be better prepared for future crises.