(This is part 1 of a two-part article)
Now that most companies have their workforce working remotely, the next question is: are you prepared for your team to be working remotely for a long time?
Getting your team working remotely for 30 days is not a big lift (if you still need help with that, this might help), but what if you have to endure 90/120/365 days of a remote work environment. How resilient is your remote solution?
It’s time to “harden” your remote solution and ensure you can make it past a short period. While there is talk of opening things up soon, none of us really know how long we will be having to maintain our remote workforce.
The first question you should be asking: is my remote implementation a triage implementation or a hardened implementation that will easily survive months/years?
Again, while optimists see things getting back to normal soon, others see this situation going on for as long as it takes to find a vaccine. The real answer is that it will probably be something in between, but you need to know if your remote solution will hold up for as long as you need it too.
Here are 9 questions you should ask yourself to ensure your business can last for the long haul.
1. What business processes have you set aside or shelved while you are in “remote working” mode? Can your company survive for months, a year, or longer without that process or those operations? If not, what technology is required to facilitate the revival of that process? And how long will that take? Ensure you are set up to handle a longer than expected remote environment and determine if you need to update operations to meet the “new normal”. This will not only help you should there be a second wave, but will help you prepare for anything that comes your way in the future.
2. What service levels have dropped since your team went remote? How sustainable would that shift be over time? To harden your remote solution, you need to figure out how you can bring those service levels back to normal while your team in working remotely. Even if you think you will be fine for a few months, you should prepare now for a longer stint of remote work. The upside, if you go back to work as usual, your new solutions will probably give you longer term benefits and may ultimately save you money.
3. How has data flow changed within your business since your employees started working remotely? If you don’t have a way for your employees to access basic file servers, documents might be saved on the users’ hard drives or even in their inbox, rather than in a central location. This might be ok for a month, but what if your team will be working remotely for 3, 6 or 9 months (or more)? How are you going to recover those files and that data? Now is the time to re-establish procedures and connection to your central data hub. And if you are not working with a secure, cloud-based solution, now might be the time to migrate to such a solution.
4. Have any of your technologies gone out of use or changed due to the inability to access them or use them efficiently? If so, how do you plan to move forward if the current situation stays the same? We’d suggest looking at ways to engineer a solution to re-establish those solutions/technologies/processes or update your business process to get rid of them allowing you go find a better long-term solution and potentially allowing you to cut costs.
5. Let’s look at the resiliency of your remote work solution. Have you established that you are covered for any event that may arise? Does your remote solution rely on physical machines or the cloud? If a hurricane, tornado or flood were to knock out your office during this time, you that leave you unable to do work? Moving your team remotely in this quarantined world has likely introduced new risks to your risk profile. Can you survive and maintain the status quo if the remote workforce had to be maintained for a longer period than what you originally thought it would be? We suggest you re-assess your current situation and look at what could potentially happen in the months to come, and make sure you have a plan to deal with those contingencies.
When we continue this post, we’ll look at the last four questions that will help you determine if your business can survive working remotely for a longer period.
(this article will be continued in our next post)….
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