As of writing, the Coronavirus continues to spread around the world, and most organizations are expecting weeks – if not months – of continued disruption to work patterns, with large numbers of people staying home. This is not a short-term problem. Companies should be looking for ways to support people during the crisis, particularly when it comes to supporting those who will be working from home for the foreseeable future.
These are ideas which will help you maintain business continuity today, while also establishing ideas and procedures to follow in the months and years to come as remote work continues to be an option.
1. Encourage learning and development relevant to your industry
Interest in hobbies, self-education, and DIY projects have skyrocketed in recent weeks, due to so many people stuck at home with little to do. Are you making materials available that are relevant to your business or industry? This could be the perfect time to utilize social networks to drum up interest in your area of business, or suggest to people it would be a good time to learn a new skill.
Providing tools for self-education and learning could easily pay off in the months or years ahead by building interest in your brand or industry, or even encouraging displaced workers to consider a career change.
2. Explore new communication mechanisms
How many different ways are there to get in touch with your organization, without being face-to-face? Now would be an excellent opportunity to grow that number. People are going to have questions and concerns, and presenting a wide variety of communications options will encourage them to engage with you. Try expanding your social media presence, joining new collaborative platforms, or making yourself available on some of the newer video-communication apps.
3. Continue engagement with fresh and relevant content
Don’t overlook the potential to grow your public image, and increase mindshare, even in ways that don’t relate directly to your core business. Merely being informative or entertaining in these uncertain times can do a lot to improve perception of your brand! If it’s appropriate for your business or product, you might even consider putting some extra freebies out there, such as how Google is now offering their Stadia streaming platform for free for the next two months. The hit to their revenues now will almost certainly pay off with more customers once all this blows over.
4. Allow flexible scheduling
If it’s at all possible, try to be less rigid about things like communication hours or deadlines. More people working from home means more people working according to their own schedule. If you have technology in place that allows for asymmetrical or non-parallel collaboration, and doesn’t require everyone to log on at the same time, that can do a lot to support workers and partners who are having to deal with many new stressors.
For example: Do you really need everyone online for that 9AM meeting? Could you just record a video of the key points, and make it available for later viewing instead?
5. Invest in platforms that grow connections
Along with growing their own hobbies and educational base, people are also looking to grow their social networks. Make yourself available! Implement or join platforms that encourage these sorts of remote connections, and help people within your industry make contacts to each other. Acting as a guide and facilitator will be another excellent way to grow mindshare and increase your visibility.
When we launched FUSE early this year, we merely thought we were making a first-of-its-kind networking, collaboration, and educational platform designed to grow digital ecosystems. We had no idea the quarantines were coming, but now that they’re here, FUSE is the solution many organizations are now looking for, combining communication, eLearning, and creation tools to present an all-in-one option for facilitating work across a diverse, remote workforce.