As of March 12th, the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 (commonly referred to as coronavirus) outbreak as a pandemic. Many businesses are struggling to take the necessary measures to prevent and slow the spread of disease to employees and clients. While instituting work-from-home policies is a recommended option, many companies lack the tools needed to make that transition feasible.
Companies that promote remote work have learned to leverage technology to help them stay connected to each other and serve customers outside of a traditional office space. Read on to learn about how you can use technology and digital tools to protect your workforce and clientele during this global health crisis.
Technology for Your Employees
As a digital agency, ManoByte equipped our staff with the skills, training and tools necessary to work from home on Fridays and any given day of the week. However, we understand that not all companies are prepared for the majority of their workforce to be remote.
In order to maintain a steady business during times of social distancing, there are several steps you should take into consideration for your employees to remain both active and safe. While a collaborative working space provides many benefits, there are technological tools that you can leverage to keep communication active.
Workplace Chat Programs
A workplace chat program, such as Slack, Flock, or Discord can help keep communication between team members both consistent and instant. These tools help your employees reach out to coworkers and managers quickly, without having to dig through their contact list or find a phone number.
Project Management Tools
In addition to keeping in contact with one another, it’s important to still manage and collaborate with employees to make sure tasks are being completed on time and a client’s projects aren’t being overlooked.
Project management software, like Teamwork, WorkOtter, and Hive provide several benefits to managers and teams, such as:
- Visibility & Transparency
- Easier Collaboration
- Better Scheduling
- Task Delegation
- Standardized Processes
- Timeline Monitoring
- Budget Management
Technology for Your Clients
Equally (if not more) important to keeping in communication with your employees is to have ways to stay connected and serve your clients and customers while out of the office. While things like having business phone lines forward to personal phone numbers and checking your email regularly can help, here are a few more ideas to use technology to your advantage.
Digital Meetings & Teleconferencing
Video meeting tools, such as Zoom or UberConference, provide companies with the ability to work together and have important meetings without having to be in the same room. Already utilized for meetings in different time zones or cities, these are perfect tools to leverage during times of social distancing.
Cloud-Based Sharing Software
In addition to being able to hold your meetings digitally, it’s valuable to have a tool in place that allows for cloud-based sharing so documents and spreadsheets can be shared between your company and your clients without having to worry about permissions and emailed links.
Tools like Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to create virtual shared folders between businesses where collaborative sharing can take place with ease. This helps provide transparency between yourself and your clients, and can relieve some of the stress that comes with remote working.
Client Relationship Management Tools
Like an internal project management system, it’s incredibly important to have a client relationship management system as well. CRMs provide:
- Better client relationships
- A centralized database with organized data
- Improved communication to your client contacts
- Increased collaboration
- Increased revenue and profitability
Guidelines to Follow to help Prevent & Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Even though we can take advantage of technology to prevent business from coming to a standstill, it’s still important to stop the spread of disease. While there is no known vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the virus is thought to be spread [mainly] from person-to-person contact, usually between people who are in close contact with another [within 6 feet] and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The CDC is currently recommending the following actions be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Wash your hands often
The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, which is the time it would take to sing “Happy Birthday” twice or the chorus of “Africa” by Toto. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, it’s important to note that hand sanitizer is not a replacement for washing your hands effectively.
Avoid contact with those who are sick
Because COVID-19 is believed to spread from close contact, it is important to avoid being around people who are sick. This is especially important for people who are at a higher risk of getting very sick, such as older adults or people who have serious chronic medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, or are immunocompromised.
It is important to clean and disinfect surfaces that are commonly touched, such as light switches, counters, desks, and sinks. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Make sure the disinfectants are appropriate for the surface you are cleaning.
Stay at Home
If you are sick, it is important to stay home as much as you can. If it is required to leave home, officials recommended wearing a face mask to avoid getting others sick. However, if you are not sick, you do not need to wear a face mask unless you are the caregiver of someone who has COVID-19. Those who are unable to wear a face mask are advised to cough into their sleeves.
Final Notes on COVID-19
At ManoByte, we strive to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and clients. Our personal transition to remote work is anticipated to be seamless and require no action on our clients' parts. If you are interested in learning how technology can keep your business afloat when challenges arise, contact us to learn about the digital tools that make remote work possible.