As some workplaces re–open, and others make plans to do so, we may start seeing business as usual. However, if the coronavirus re-emerges over the summer or fall due to a decrease in social distancing or other factors, organizations will need to be prepared for a return to remote work and other pandemic-induced workplace changes.
Smart organizations are making plans now—just in case—by taking the lessons they’ve learned in recent months and creating new policies and procedures so they’re ready for an extended period of social distancing.
- Sales and service processes that depend on face-to-face interactions are being modified to leverage the phone, video conferencing and online apps
- Marketing plans that focus on direct mailers or in-person conferences are being pivoted to online activities
- Management policies and procedures that depend on face-to-face interactions are being modified to leverage the phone, video conferencing and online apps
- Work schedules and leave policies are being modified to account for continued home schooling and lack of childcare
- Communication is being increased to keep everyone in the loop and processes that depend on face-to-face interactions are being moved online
- Operations are being modified so they can handle spikes in absenteeism
- Document management policies and procedures are being moved online
- Technical support processes and procedures are being modified to improve response times, handle an increased workload and leverage the phone as well as online apps
- Hiring, on-boarding and training processes and procedures that depend on face-to-face interactions are being moved online
- Technology that allowed people to quickly work-from-home and was sufficient for limited use is being modified to support extended use
To ensure work-from-home technology can be used for extended periods, we recommend:
- Updating ergonomics and reimbursement policies and procedures to cover telecommuting
- Upgrading home internet connections and network equipment to provide robust connectivity
- Implementing secure video conferencing, chat, online storage/file sharing and other apps to improve collaboration and productivity as well as prevent shadow IT
- Upgrading security to protect your new technology
- Training your team on their new technology and security threats that are prevalent at home
- Implementing cell phone tethering or other at-home, backup internet access technology
Since our recommendations on updating your BCP for an extended pandemic are IT focused and intended to get ideas flowing, please check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for extensive information on all aspects of pandemic planning.