Many businesses have been thrust into disarray due to COVID-19 and the mandates enforcing quarantine. Some businesses have shutdown, and some are deciding on whether to do the same. Those companies that are non-essential but are keeping their teams working remotely and those debating doing the same will need to address the shift to teleworking quickly.

We have put together a list for businesses to adjust to working remotely affordably and some resources and tips.

Continue hosting events, just do them digitally.

Many businesses had events planned or were planning on going to an event, but with the shutdown many of these events have been cancelled. However, there is a recourse. Some companies are hosting virtual events through video conferencing and have, in fact, had attendance soar. You are setting yourself apart from those that gave up on providing such an event.

Use technology to continue and increase communication.  

At this time it is important to communicate with clients and staff even more than before. Communication is the number 1 biggest complaint and risk for a remote staff. Depending on your staff you may have varying degrees of success in continuing communication. But there are numerous companies that are successfully remote, and here are some tools and tips to assist with building your communications:

    1. Slack is an excellent tool to be able to communicate with other employees periodically throughout the day, share GIFs, share files, and create projects and teams to work within the platform.
    2. Schedule and enforce mandatory weekly meetings. Keep in touch with everyone on the team, or if you are smaller everyone in the company. Remind them they are still a part of the culture and brainstorm together ways to help each other keep in touch and productive.

Video conferencing – Whether you use Zoom or another tool it is a huge benefit to see your employees and speak with them face to face. Video conferencing is a powerful tool right now and we are offering our enterprise level video conferencing software for free for the next few months to help businesses navigate the current crisis.

Track your efforts:
Work and time tracking, especially for non-salaried employees, is another top 5 risk for teleworking companies. Time Doctor is one of the apps we have found that has helped many employers keep track of work and time for their employees, and is also useful for those contractors you might have doing 5 hours a week for you. Toggl is another option but suggested mainly for smaller offices

Keep security a priority (cybersecurity attacks are on the rise now):

We will keep this one quick so as to not be too self-serving. You need to ensure your people are staying secure at home, anything on their home network might get onto your network without the right security. How to stay safe affordably on your own?

      1. If you don’t have an office you need them to connect to have them use a generic VPN (we like NordVPN). If you do have an office they need to connect to, ask your IT Company they will have an answer to connect through the VPN they created. Don’t have an IT Company? Give us a call we are offering free consults to help businesses navigate these changes in a secure way.
      2. Ensure passwords are complex (you can do this through your server, or just ask people to do it). We also suggest using LastPass Password Manager to create unique passwords and store them for you.
      3. Please… put an antivirus on your computer. Your IT Company should have one already but if you don’t have IT Support then please get Webroot or Sophos to cover your anti-virus needs. Also think about asking an IT Support company to provide you with Advanced Endpoint Security which would be especially warranted these days.
      4. How to be covered with everything? Ask your IT Support to provide cloud office space, or secure remote desktops for you to sign into like nothing has happened. If you don’t have a company that does this… you can contact these guys here (hint: it’s us).
      5. Security Awareness Training. Ask your IT Support to get something going for you. Otherwise we are offering this for FREE right now for anyone that thinks it is useful to be aware of security threats, especially at home.

Use project management software to keep your team organized:

Employee engagement is hard even when you are not working with a remote staff. Task Management and Project Management tools are great for ensuring you’re getting the work done that is necessary for you to have done and gives the order an employee needs to bring calm to their life. It is also a great way to engage who is responsible for what and to use as a team tool to use in conjunction with Slack and Video Conferencing.  There are numerous ones you can use: Wrike, Asana, Trello, Jira, Monday, and Zoho (our personal favorite is Asana).
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Innovate your sales processes:

Now is a great time for your sales team to learn how to successfully transition to meeting prospects and conducting sales presentations over video conference.  Make sure they have access to enterprise quality video conferencing software AND that they know how to use it properly.

If you rather they didn’t sell to fill the pipeline have them get certifications. Otherwise, I suggest they read and research. Fanatical Prospecting is an excellent start to this Remote Selling journey. Hubspot and Technology Marketing Toolkit has some excellent information too.

Use Reliable and Professional Phone Systems:

Right now many people are using their personal cell phones or landlines for work right now, and might be missing out on calls coming to their  business line. It is easy to get set up with a business phone at home quickly and easily. We have multiple solutions (some are even free) and can help you find one to fit your needs with both cloud and on premise voice over ip solutions. 

Avoid Detachment:

This can be a big time for loneliness and abandonment feelings to surface for your employees. It might be helpful that your company or teams work with their video conferencing on mute but always going. That way everyone can see each other and communicate as they would back in the office.

Building trust with your remote staff and keeping it will be essential to not lose productivity and not to lose your most valuable assets at the end of this crisis. To do this we suggest the CEO, Team Leaders, Executives, Managers, etc. release 3-minute videos daily just talking to the staff and reminding them of your core values and mission. And the vision of the company. Make it personal.

Streamline Scheduling:

Sometimes a difficult situation like this can set the schedule in disarray. We suggest using automated software to help you navigate the plethora of requests you’re getting. Calendly is just such a tool and we know many businesses already use it.

Get Support for Home Networks and Devices:

My home is my new office. What do I do if my personal computer breaks?  If you’re in the Northern Virginia area we suggest only one possible recourse: Tek 101.  There are not many residential IT Support companies outside of Geek Squad and they are not always the quickest or reliable. In Northern Virginia we always rely on Tek 101 which does residential IT Support and has emergency response. We know we can trust our clients to them due to their high-level of care.

This is not a comprehensive list of issues. We have listed a few primary concerns facing businesses, but we have solutions for a host of other challenges.  Please let us know if this was helpful or if you have any questions out there. Don’t forget to use a disinfectant wipe on your keyboard.

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