With the current outbreak of the Coronavirus, what can you do as a business owner to prepare for this?
It is not just about giving your staff the ability to work remotely, it is also having the ability to communicate and mange them.
Firstly, ensure you have remote access to :
- Account Platforms – Sage, Quickbooks, Xero.
- CRM – Salesforce, Bullhorn etc
- EMAIL – Office 365 / Gmail
- DATA – OneDrive / Dropbox
- TELEPHONES – VoIP
Video Conferencing and Instant Messaging
Add, Video Conferencing (VC) and/or Instant Messaging. (Zoom, Google Hang Outs, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Whatsapp)
1) A weekly or daily meeting via VC. This is dependent on your business requirements. Everyone joins in, have a standing agenda, it can be just 15mins letting everyone know the weekly / daily plan. Get interactive, and make it punchy.
Have camera’s on for VC’s. Body language is important no matter the channel! No make up or tracksuit wearing calls add a new perspective to working relationships – embrace this time and learn something new about your team’s personalities.
People need interaction but they are used to being in an office. It is a time just to say hi to everyone and the most important thing is you also know everyone is set up, and actually ready for work. You may find this creates a whole new long term way for your team to collaborate.
2) 1 to 1s. Schedule 1:1 calls with your team. Ask your team to do the same thing as required.
Some people are not good at seeking out help. In the office, it is easier to turn to a colleague. This creates a safe space to give updates and get advice.
3) Diary Management. Make sure everyone can see each others diaries.
Encourage teams to block out all activities in their calendar
Where possible, provide the flexibility for them to complete personal tasks during the day; just ask them to ensure the diary is kept up to date. Giving this flexibility, you will get more out of them.
This helps to hold people to account. Many of your employees will take comfort in knowing that people don’t think they are “slacking”.
How do I Monitor my staff?
Visibility of calendars. If you are concerned someone is not working, look at their diary, if it is blank, you can question them, and ask them to keep it up to date.
Instant Messaging. If someone is regularly not online, question them; you are paying them, they should be available.
Email. Use your IT systems to get a weekly summary of email sent and received, look at this and monitor activity. If you see a drop, hold people accountable.
Office 365 / Google Apps.
Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hang Outs
Whatsapp / Slack.
- Make sure you know how to control your phone system to divert calls as required.
- Look into an answerphone service, in case you have reduced staff to answer calls.
- Most platforms have a web portal, have you got access to this?
- Can you give your staff a softphone so they can answer calls from home?
Your customers are still expecting the same level of service and your business needs to continue its services
Your Accounting Solution….
If you are not already on a cloud-based solution, make sure you have remote access to the PC that is running your on-premise accounting package.
If this is not something you can do, it may be a great time to think about making a change
If you can not invoice… how can you continue to get paid.
Have a Plan
Approach business continuity in a proactive fashion and you can protect your business for the future