Keeping business continuity during a global pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is somewhat unpredictable. No one can say with absolute certainty how and when the situation will be under control and what the new normal will look like. Many countries keep going back and forth on measures to help curb the spread of the virus as infection rates and fatalities randomly fluctuate.

One thing that is clear so far is the indiscriminate impact this tide has had on businesses all over the globe. With nationwide lockdowns, strict social distancing, and numerous safety recommendations, many organizations have been forced to hurriedly make drastic changes in a matter of weeks just to keep going. Some entrepreneurs are still unsure of how to operate amid the crisis.

The key focus at the moment is business continuity. A business continuity plan provides protection, a safeguard of all your data related assets. This allows your business to be up running with limited disruptions to your functionality. Also, in a time like this, businesses need to have a continuity plan in place to ensure seamless operations no matter what. Businesses that already have a continuity plan in place were able to transition into remote work much more easily by having their data backed up and available to employees. 

Here are some useful tips for keeping your business moving during the pandemic.

Formulate an effective work-from-home policy

For now, remote working is the only feasible workplace arrangement for many organizations. Nearly a quarter of the U.S. workforce was already working from home, at least part-time, before the pandemic. But for most businesses, this is their first time enforcing a company-wide remote working setting.

Generally, conditions are not favorable for working from home. But, to maintain business continuity, you have to get some work done using any means possible. Below is a checklist for creating and implementing an effective remote working policy:

  • Establish clear guidelines and rules for remote workers.
  • Provide all the necessary remote working tools.
  • Determine each worker’s roles and responsibilities.
  • Develop a productive collaboration system.
  • Provide virtual training on remote working best practices.

Keep employees tethered to the company

Communication breakdown is one of the main challenges of having employees work separately. Invest in a versatile and easily accessible communications system to bring workers together and keep them linked. Go for a unified communications suite that integrates all the essential communications mediums, such as conferencing, file sharing, messaging, emails, and voice calls, under one roof. Microsoft Teams is the most commonly known platform and for good reason, it includes all of these things and has other tools like screen sharing and synced calendars and emails that make it extremely convenient and more efficient than other platforms. You can also make social media a mainstream communication channel if it helps. The goal is to use all available communication tools to facilitate collaboration.

Adapt your leadership and management styles to support new changes

Conventional leadership methods do not hold up in remote working scenarios. You need to develop an effective management strategy to supervise remote employees and ensure they follow marked guidelines. First of all, make it clear to all members what is expected of them, from work conduct, working hours, and schedules to their job descriptions.

Also, hold regular online meetings to brief members on new developments and progress, and to check in on the team’s status and activities. Doing so helps sustain momentum.

Acknowledge that times like these are probably hard on your staff as well. So, keep communication lines open to everyone and allow remote social interactions to encourage emotional support. As a leader put prejudices aside and empathize with your employees to provide the much-needed reassurance.

Beef up cybersecurity

WHO recently reported a surge in cyber-attacks and scam emails centered around COVID-19, and urged the general public to be more vigilant. As businesses frantically try to make sense of unfamiliar circumstances, opportunistic cybercriminals are busy searching for easy prey.

The concept of remote working introduces some unique security loopholes. For instance, workers can access the corporate network from insecure public internet connections. You also have limited control over whichever end-user devices employees choose to use. Reinforce security around your end-points and network using firewalls, VPNs, and thorough user authentication systems. Cyber-attacks can potentially interrupt business continuity to a greater extent than the ongoing pandemic.

IT solutions for your business

Companies are responding differently to the string of challenges stemming from the global pandemic. Although most enterprise operations are severely affected, maintaining business continuity means you will hit the ground running when it is back to business as usual. 

We understand that this sudden and drastic change has been hard on many businesses. That is why we are here to help. Contact Entech today and get the IT support you deserve, especially in times like this.