Creating a Rapid Response Plan to Support Operations in the Face of COVID-19
Are you scrambling to provide consistent operations in the face of the coronavirus situation? Here’s what you need to know to form a rapid response to keep business moving.
If there are two concepts that you need to consider in the face of any sort of disaster, they’re communication and sustainability. You need to be able to quickly shift resources in a way that will allow business operations to continue as evenly as possible, providing valuable goods and services to your customers and allowing staff to maintain some semblance of their daily schedules. The speed with which the coronavirus impacted the U.S. has caused many organizations to stumble, with overnight edicts recommending offices close and operations shift to new locations. Even if you are still struggling to find a new normal in this chaotic world, there are steps that you can take immediately that will help reduce confusion, improve security and allow you to deliver value to your clients consistently.
Prepping for Remote Work
Are there individuals within your organization that simply can’t work remotely? Everyone from individuals in an operational capacity to those sorting mail and other physical tasks may not have the ability or need to work when your primary facilities are no longer in use. You must be keeping these individuals in mind as you’re creating a remote work policy, determining whether these staff members will be paid during an extended period where remote work is required. There are also a variety of other considerations when you’re prepping for remote work, including:
- Identifying communication channels that are consistent and easy for staff to access
- Providing any physical resources required, such as laptops, phones or remote security devices
- Protecting against disruptions in your operations by defining automated backup and disaster recovery strategies
- Which functions can be delayed or eliminated and which ones must continue if at all possible
- Communication channels with customers to keep them informed of changes in shipping or delivery schedules
- Engagements with key vendors to provide alternative shipping locations — or how to source alternatives from new locations not impacted by quarantines or closed borders
The current coronavirus situation is one that few people could have anticipated, but keeping these operations in mind as you’re developing remote work or emergency procedures can help ensure that you are prepared for any future incidents. This allows you to quickly trigger your emergency response plan in a way that limits confusion and loss of productivity.
Sustain Operations Remotely
A remote work policy is one of the fundamentals for sustaining operations in a surprisingly-mobile world. While a small percentage of organizations are practicing remote-only work, according to Remote Work Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations nearly 80% of Americans say that they would turn down a job that doesn’t offer the ability to work at least a portion of the time remotely. This new era of flexibility ushers in some significant challenges in terms of security and maintaining operations, making it more attractive than ever to outsource some critical infrastructure operations to an IT managed services provider. Knowing that your technical staff can be safely working from home as opposed to being forced into potentially dangerous situations is a boon for flexible workers and companies alike.
Providing Secure and Reliable Connections for Staff and Customers
While you’re identifying the impact of shifting models and considering how revenue and costs will be adjusted, it’s also essential to maintain a high degree of security with the structure of your remote operations. Users in rural areas without access to high-speed internet might be tempted to work from their laptops in a coffee shop or cafe. This can be a hazardous measure for your data security if the staff member isn’t utilizing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or another security tool for accessing the internet. Helping staff members understand the dangers of non-secure browsing isn’t a one-time notification — it requires an ongoing education program for your staff.
Quickly ramping up a secure and reliable infrastructure for remote operations has several potential pitfalls, which is why companies are often turning to their primary IT services providers for assistance. The experts at LI Tech Advisors can help assure that you are considering all the possible issues and opportunities to support sustainable operations for your company. Contact us at 631-203-6359 for immediate assistance or to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.