4 Business strategies to implement during the COVID-19 pandemic

4 Business strategies to implement during the COVID-19 pandemic

Every day, thousands of people in the United States are testing positive for coronavirus, and there’s no doubt that businesses are also taking a huge hit. Many companies are either furloughing nonessential staff or shutting down. So far, there’s no surefire strategy to guarantee your business’s survival during the crisis, but there are some strategies you can do right now to keep your employees healthy, productive, and secure.

Inform staff and minimize transmission risk

Protecting employees (especially those who are required to show up to the workplace) is priority number one. This means HR departments must compile information regarding coronavirus to update employees on the latest developments and how to avoid infection. Bulletins, email threads, chat groups, and company intranet sites are great ways to notify employees. Also, make sure any news you share comes from credible sources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Generally, you need to advise your staff to wash their hands for 20 seconds, wear masks when outside their homes, and stand at least six feet away from other people. Employees who are feeling unwell should self-quarantine and consult a doctor if their symptoms get worse.

If you have on-site staff, provide hand sanitizers, incorporate mandatory temperature checks in front of buildings, and hire cleaning staff to frequently sanitize high-traffic areas and handwashing facilities.

Establish remote work policies

Due to social distancing recommendations from the CDC, most employees are advised to work from home to reduce the risk of infection. A majority of companies today are already using some form of remote work arrangement, but it’s important you establish and communicate clear ground rules with employees.

Keep in mind that these rules will vary depending on the nature of your business. For instance, if you have customer service and sales representatives, they should be online during certain hours of the day. On the other hand, you can give certain administrative and creative staff the freedom to start their eight-hour shift at any time if their tasks aren’t usually time-sensitive.

In addition to time commitments, you should set expectations for the work that’s done in the day. Ask employees to create daily progress reports and check in with managers on a weekly basis. You should also clarify which apps, resources, and communications platforms employees must use when working remotely. Should team meetings and one-on-ones be conducted over the phone, video chat, or instant messaging? What files are staff authorized to use outside office premises?

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Provide technology tools

If employees are working remotely, they must be equipped with the right technology. Cloud platforms like Office 365 offer a suite of productivity tools that allow your staff to collaborate and communicate effectively as long as they have an internet connection. It comes with a centralized storage system, cutting-edge email and calendar features, plus online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. More importantly, it has Microsoft Teams — a communication tool that can be used for voice and video calls, instant messaging, and file sharing.

Your staff also need the appropriate hardware equipment and internet coverage. First, review your staff’s home office environments and make sure they’re subscribed to a fast internet broadband plan for reliable voice and video calls (at least 100 Mbps). Then, check whether they have company-registered computers that can run your company’s software. If this isn’t the case, you may have to upgrade their systems.

Other requirements include peripheral devices such as printers, mice, webcams, and headsets with a good microphone. If staff members don’t already have these, consider reimbursing any equipment they’ll need to purchase for remote work.

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Invest in cybersecurity

Since home office environments are not as secure as corporate networks, there’s an increased risk of cyberattacks during the pandemic. Malicious programs that are often blocked by company security measures can easily attack home networks and devices, which is why remote staff need their own security measures.

Employees must register their devices to your company’s mobile device management software so you can control what apps and data they can access. This also allows you to distribute company-wide security patches and even wipe the contents of compromised devices. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are essential for hiding web activity from prying eyes. Meanwhile, strong firewalls and antivirus software must be installed on devices to defend against a wide array of threats.

Coronavirus-related phishing scams are another potential threat, so training employees to be critical of emails, attachments, and websites is vital. Finally, have employees enable multifactor authentication to add another step of identity verification on top of passwords such as fingerprint scans and temporary passcodes sent over SMS.

There are many challenges ahead for businesses, whether it be coronavirus-related or another unexpected crisis. However, staying calm and employing the right business strategies can keep your business going strong. If you’re uncertain about the tools and cybersecurity solutions required for remote work, Intouch IT is always here to help. We provide cutting-edge technology and IT support, so your company can run optimally. Read our free eBook on why you should outsource your IT to us to learn more.

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