Last week, the United States declared the COVID-19 a national emergency. Late last week, states across the country have put mandates in place, including closing schools, bars and restaurants to slow the spread of the disease.
Many businesses have had to quickly react to these sweeping changes and if you are like us at Kiefer, you may be working remotely. Many organizations have instructed employees to work from home and have put procedures in place to keep business going.
Business as Usual in Unusual Times
In unusual times, we must work extra hard to maintain, “business as usual”. This means that we must adapt and adjust how we work to maintain productivity and keep the business running. We are doing that.
Fortunately for us, we have a legacy of using tools like Office 365 and Microsoft Teams to communicate and collaborate while our employees work from remote locations. While we have been successful in the integration of tools that enable remote collaboration, we recognize that many organizations may have very little experience with these tools and may have significant gaps to fill in order to fully leverage them, including;
- Intranet capabilities for remote workers
- Laptops with the appropriate software
- Applications that enable collaboration, chat, and remote meeting capabilities
Keeping your distance
The CDC has made it clear that during this time, it’s important stay home if you are sick. Unfortunately — many will not follow this instruction. The CDC has outlined the symptoms of COVID-19 and oftentimes they are mild, often resembling a cold or sinus infection. So, many people will continue to report to their place of work without realizing they are indeed sick. Even when you are not exhibiting more severe symptoms, you can spread the virus and infect others.
While remote work presents many challenges for organizations that are accustomed to in-person collaboration, there are several reasons that businesses need to embrace remote work at this time;
Containing and limiting exposure to COVID-19
By containing COVID-19, we can help control the spread of the disease, and ultimately, end it.
A healthy workforce is vital to the sustainability of a company, and it’s important to keep your workforce healthy. If employees get sick, companies will suffer from a dip in productivity and significantly impact a business’s ability to function. If we want to eliminate a virus then we need to limit its chance to thrive and continue to infect others.
“Flattening the Curve”
You may have heard about the need for our communities to “flattening the curve”. This is an important idea that can help in reducing the chances of overwhelming our healthcare systems. By flattening the curve, we can help keep hospitals from being flooded by ill patients. This is an illustration that shows why “flattening the curve” is important to stabilizing our healthcare system.
Working from home and essentially practicing “self-quarantine”, we can potentially contain or limit illness.
Staying Productive in a crisis
COVID-19 will likely present significant challenges to many businesses, and Kiefer Consulting is no exception. During this time, we will do our best to minimize the impact on our business and adapt, exhibit empathy and compassion to those impacted, and do whatever we can to help our customers and business partners stay productive during this time.
As an organization, we were pleased to discover that Microsoft is offering Microsoft Teams for free during this time, helping organizations stay productive while staying at home. As I mentioned earlier in this article, staying home has been recommended to curb the spread of the virus.
We are willing to provide expert resources if your organization is interested in learning more about Microsoft Teams or how to deploy it.
Crisis and it’s effect on business
While COVID-19 has taken many of us by surprise, we have learned some significant lessons about preparedness and what is required to maintain “business as usual” is unusual times.
Prior to COVID-19, major weather events, natural disasters and other crises have also sparked the need to make changes in how an organization operates and may have influenced organizations to embrace remote work to stay productive.
We know that COVID-19 will have major impacts on business, but we are going to do our part to help our customers, friends, and business partners through this turbulent and uncertain time.
We will continue to share our thoughts on remote work, staying productive, and how to maintain a sense of calm in these unsettled times.