Transitioning your staff to work remotely is a lot of work. Making that transition quickly amid a national crisis is even more stressful.
On episode Bottom Line IT, Mike sits down with three ASK staff members to talk about how businesses can arm themselves with the right technology tools and strategies to keep their companies operational and best manage employees as they work from home.
Our segment kicks off with guest Kevin Meeker who is the Director of Business Operations at ASK. One of the first questions many organizations faced when attempting to deal with this pandemic is, “how do I transition my entire staff to work from home—and do so with the right tools?”
Kevin talks about the value that Microsoft Office 365 has for businesses at this time. Old school Microsoft products
were fairly limited in their ability to “go where you go” and serve as a tool to connect your people. Now, Microsoft offers their entire suite online and rolled out new applications such as Microsoft Teams for messaging and video conferencing.
“Ideally, your staff should be able to open up an internet browser and do their job.” Mike concludes. You can read more about the benefits of the Microsoft Office Suite here.
Our second guest is Katie Saglimbene. Katie is the president of our sister company, Elevate Marketing Company, but she also wears a second hat as ASK’s lead marketing director.
During the interview, Katie talks about the importance of communication and consistency. When your staff scattered about, it’s important to empower them with a consistent set of tools they can use to communicate with one another and clients.
“Consistency breeds efficiency”, Katie explains. “You don’t want one staff member utilizing Google Hangouts to video conference with a client when the rest of your staff is using Microsoft Teams. Instead, let your staff know which communication tools you expect them to use.”
She goes on to explain that whatever tools you recommend, it’s also important to provide some basic training on how to use them. It’s very possible that some of your staff members have never had to host or attend an online meeting before, so don’t expect them to have to figure it out themselves. Instead, offer easy-to-understand tutorials and appoint an internal IT staff member or hire an outside technology vendor to answer their questions should they need further assistance.
“There’s enough stress concerning the virus,” Mike points out, “don’t make technology another stressor or roadblock for them.”
We get it, people are generally resistant to change. Katie’s advice for getting your staff on board with your acceptable use policy is by reinforcing WHY these recommendations are important to your company, core values, and the ability to provide a consistent customer experience.
Speaking of communication, have you notice this time has led you to communicate more? Katie says this is for good reason! You need to ensure your clients and staff are up to date on how your changing business operations may affect them.
Whether you already have a disaster recovery plan or not, you need to appoint two key roles when it comes to your communication at this time:
- Who is going to take point on communicating with your staff?
- Who is going to take point on communicating with your clients?
Reassurance and setting thoughtful, realistic, expectations go long way to foster healthy client and staff relationships!
Our segment concludes with one more conversation with Justin Kikendall who is the Director of Operations at ASK.
It’s clear that COVID-19 has certainly shaken up our day-to-day work routines. But one of the things we had already planned for is how we would support our clients while being 100% remote. This allowed us to pivot our internal operations without skipping a beat. However, not all companies could say the same.
This is why it’s so important (now more than ever) to explore and implement technology tools that make remote work not only possible for your staff but productive (you can read more what specific tools we recommend to do this over on this blog post).
Justin and Mike go on to talk about another important topic—cybersecurity.
As staff members utilize home networks (and maybe even their own devices) to perform their work, the possibility your company will suffer a cyber-attack becomes greater. While employees no longer have the protection they once had through your office’s network and devices, there are still several practical things they can do to keep your information more secure (we explain many of these tools in more detail over in this blog post).
Things like utilizing VPN connections or services like LogMeIn offer the extra layer of security many businesses need right now.
You can listen to the full episode below:
We completely understand how stressful this time can be for you and your business. If there’s any way we can alleviate your technology, security, or communication headaches, we’d love to help.