Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many business organizations have decided to close their offices, and ask all of their employees to work remotely. That’s the lucky ones, who still have a viable business to run. With lockdowns and movement restrictions making impossible many traditional functions that rely on physical interaction, other enterprises whose livelihood depends on such dealings are finding themselves on the threshold of economic survival. Extended layoffs, pay cuts, and worst case scenario closures have been the result, in many cases.
In this short guide, we’ll be looking at ways to help avoid these misfortunes, and stay open for business remotely, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schedule A Daily Meeting To Keep Everyone Connected
A mandatory conference call scheduled for the same time each day will help keep everyone up to speed with what’s going on in your business. Having this meeting at the same time each day establishes a ritual, and making it a “must attend” event will require your people to prioritize this time and work other issues around it.
Depending on the size of your organization, these daily meetings may be for a subset of the enterprise — a management call with heads of department, interactive sessions for each business unit, etc. Whatever the scenario, each call should begin with a simple check in, allowing each participant a minute or two to say how they’re doing, or to share a personal story.
Situational updates on existing projects, business plans, and specific issues can then be addressed, with some time set aside at the end of the meeting for discussion and strategic planning.
Keeping in touch on a regular basis is critical when working remotely, and to make this happen you’ll need a reliable and versatile communications system which enables video conferencing, audio calls, and instant messaging, hosted on a secure and dependable network. Regular check-ins using these technologies will help keep everyone in your organization on the same page.
Keep A Centralized Virtual Repository Of Business Information
Employees working remotely will also require easy access to the information they need to do their jobs. A centralized virtual drive for digital information will enable you to pool relevant data in a single place. Enabling protections such as multi-factor authentication will help safeguard the integrity of this information and provide access only to authorized users, especially for cloud-based applications.
With a Unified Communications (UC) solution, access to this central reserve can also be made available to your workers via their authorized phones.
Follow Established Guidelines To Mitigate Risk And Protect Your Workers During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Organizations with links to health and government authorities have been publishing guidelines for business operators, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the US Chamber of Commerce offers a coronavirus toolkit for businesses and workers across the country, with a compilation of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC’s ).
Guidelines typically cover advice for limiting exposure to the virus, such as physical protocols to adopt, and recommendations for keeping work areas clean and sanitized. Following them can make it more likely that you’ll avoid low morale and sick leave requests, or even litigation.
Provide Options And Tools For Working Remotely
Set up a remote work policy covering the times when you expect your team to be online or available, what’s expected of them work-wise, and how they can communicate. You’ll need to display some flexibility in this, as some workers may have to deal with local issues that prevent them from adhering to strict schedules.
In terms of resources, the most significant benefit to employees working remotely is a solid, dependable, and cost-effective alternative to traditional landlines. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) connectivity enables streamlined, higher-quality calls utilizing your established broadband internet setup. Even traditional landline phones can be hooked up using a VoIP adapter, meaning there’s no need to go out and buy a new dedicated VoIP phone. Improved uptime, dedicated 24/7 support, reduced latency, and clearer audio are other benefits, together with support for connections to softphone apps.
Dedicated SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking solutions can provide enhanced security and peace of mind when it comes to employees making hosted PBX calls from the comforts of home.
With features such as screen-sharing, real-time edits from multiple contributors on the same document, and datasheet tracking, tools such as Google Suite, Huddle, and others make it easier for remote workers to keep production flowing, and have any issues quickly addressed.
Shift To An Online Sales Strategy
If the shift to working remotely hasn’t already done so, the COVID-19 situation is precipitating the need to have online sales, marketing, and fulfillment options at the forefront of your business operations. Using social media as a sales and marketing platform, email marketing, and proactive use of video and conferencing are some of the examples you might consider.
Find Out If Business Interruption Insurance Is A Viable Option
If your organization suffers significant losses due to the COVID-19 lockdown, business interruption insurance may be an option that’s available to you. Ask your insurance broker if your existing policy provides cover against unexpected major events — and see what qualifies for coverage.
Be Transparent When Communicating With Customers And Suppliers
Many of your consumers will be experiencing similar challenges to the ones you’re facing, due to COVID-19. Even if their problems are minor by comparison, customers can empathize if your business is facing a crisis — as long as you communicate with them frankly and openly. That means being transparent about what your business is going through, and describing the steps that you are taking to meet your various challenges. If your organization is contributing to the COVID-19 effort in any way, this is something you should also talk about.
To manage your supply chain logistics and customer fulfillment options, you’ll also need frequent communications with suppliers, investors, partners, and relevant local officials.
As you may have noticed there’s a common thread running through all of these recommendations: the need for a stable and versatile communications platform, that will enable your business to remain accessible and operational throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and one that’s capable of providing the tools and connectivity required by all your staff who are working remotely.
net2phone provides a feature-filled, all-inclusive communications solution that can respond to the ways people communicate today — whether by voice, video, texting, messaging, or web chat — over an array of devices, in the office and on the go. The platform also offers powerful analytics, enabling you to make smarter business decisions, stand out from the crowd, and ultimately grow your business.
net2phone’s platform offers free calling to 40 countries, with flexibility, reliability and support for mobile integration that makes it easy to use wherever you are, supporting multi-site connectivity and remote operations right out of the box.
For video conferencing, net2phone Huddle enables virtual face-to-face communications with people around the globe.
If you’d like to learn more about how our communications platform can help your business to stay open remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, reach out to us at net2phone!