Businesses have contingency plans in case of a local power outage, fire, terror attack, or a natural disaster in the region. COVID-19 is here and is real. After infecting at least 196 countries, and over 400,000 individuals, the World Health Organization declares COVID-19 (coronavirus) a pandemic. Are businesses prepared for the pandemic? Suddenly, we are confronted with the concept of remote work. The big question is: Is your Digital Workplace your Business Continuity Solution in a Global Pandemic?  

With the contagious COVID-19, staying away from the crowd seems to be the best prevention there is. Most businesses may have failed to include the possible virus outbreak in their contingency plans. But higher management have surely considered the possibility of remote work.

People who are working in isolation or with a small group in a digital workplace may benefit from their current setup, for as long as they don’t go out too often. Being in a sector that mainly uses a computer and the internet to stay productive is an advantage to avoid contracting the disease and helping everyone to win the fight against the new coronavirus.

Why do we Need A Digital Workplace to Fight Coronavirus

According to the CDC, the virus is more potent, while the person who has it is asymptomatic. Therefore, people can’t tell whether a passenger, a pedestrian, or a customer is already infected or not. This behavior of the virus makes it even more deceitful and harder to control.

An employees using a digital workplace decreases their chances of contracting COVID-19 and other viral diseases that may befall in the future. Why? There is less contact with other people. Employees work from home and internal communications remain digital. Need to have a meeting? No problem. All these capabilities are inclusive in the digital workplace solution.

Most companies are implementing a “stay at home” campaign. By staying at home, results in not further contributing to the spread of the virus. Thus, controlling and limiting the pandemic and resolving further issues that could arise as soon as possible. This is another way, we all contribute to stopping the global pandemic.

Objectives for Better Disaster Communication

Precise and quick communication is crucial in a global hazard like the COVID-19. Ideally, preparation should start before the disaster. Authorities must circulate and make people aware of such important announcements more frequently.

Some corporations may not be prepared, as cases like a disease outbreak seldom happen. If ever they have a contingency plan, they have no established success rates. As such, executives call for last-minute conferences to come up with measures to ensure operations and employee safety.

The objectives for better disaster communication are as follows:

  • Cascade company FAQs on issues that may arise during disasters
  • Maintain a list of trusted information sources
  • Provide a list of emergency contact details to all employees
  • Create additional channels for constant and effective communication to employees
  • Prepare software and communication tools for remote work
  • Develop a frequent schedule of updates from remote employees
  • Have support agencies in place to assist additional operations

Are companies ready for remote work?

Most companies are not prepared for the pandemic where remote work or work from home becomes the only solution. Work from home or shutdown for an undefined period of time. I suppose companies will choose, remote work as the alternative. Let’s look into a few questions to clarify, if your company is ready.

As yourself these questions:

  1. Do employees have the appropriate hardware to do their daily work?
  2. Do employees have the right software to perform their duties as before the disaster?
  3. Can employees maintain connectivity if the disaster leads to long a period of time?
  4. Are employees self sufficient to maintain a remote work environment?
  5. If employees are using personal devices, are these secure?

Back to the question: Is your digital workplace your Business Continuity solution? The answer to this question for most companies is no.

Every Company should consider Remote Work

Many companies have already switched to remote work for various reasons. Apart from its cost-effectiveness, a digital workplace is more disaster-proof compared to a headquartered office. An office where people would need to travel and expose themselves to different elements before they could reach the company’s premises.

Lockdowns are currently in place in many countries affected by the COVID-19. If needed, employees from another region for example, won’t have the necesity to go through the strict checkpoints implemented by the government in a continuous attempt to limit the mobility and transmission of the virus. Allowing for a remote workplace eliminates these complexities.

The COVID-19 pandemic should help owners and stakeholders realize the digital workplace benefits and its role for business continuity. The disaster-proof remote work could help many companies evade these unforeseen circumstances happening in many regions as of this writing. Every sector can take this outbreak as a learning opportunity to further improve their business continuity programs.

Digital Workplace as a Main Business Continuity Plan

A disaster such as a global pandemic is not the right time to plan. IT executives of every company should start mapping the business contingency measures and how they can ensure a smooth transition. At the very least, they can create an emergency digital workplace team for business continuity.

In the case of COVID-19, if your company does not have  a Business Continuity plan, it’s still not too late to react. Businesses can do a rushed, but informed and effective meeting with professional consultants before the plague affects a considerable population. For assistance in this business contingency effort, companies can get help from digital experts who specialize in the field of remote work and digital transformation.

Here is additional reading on Business Continuity Planning.

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