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Emergency Remote Work Preparedness


Snowstorms, power outages and even pandemics can cause a massive interruption to everyday life. These events impact far more than transportation and the availability of essential supplies, as they can disrupt working life for those accustomed to going into an office. Responding to these unforeseen events is key, which is why you need a plan to transition your workforce from the office to working from home.

Delays in getting a remote workforce up and running can mean added stress on employers and employees alike, along with complicating any potential underlying financial strain that may arise. How do you prepare your workforce to have the flexibility that will enable them to work efficiently from anywhere? Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re putting together an emergency remote working plan.

Ready to get started? Review our emergency work from home plan template. 

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Audit IT Software and Hardware

Remote work is no longer unusual. In fact, many of your employees may be working from home already. If that’s not the case yet, start by coming up with a plan to train your team members on how to work remotely. Assessing their comfort level with the use of communications systems like MiCollab and MiTeam Meetings will help ensure everyone can quickly transition to working remotely.
With remote work comes another issue to address: cyber security and compliance. When workforces go remote within a short time, as they did during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can create new vulnerabilities for hackers and spammers to take advantage of. A data breach has the potential to cost companies enormous amounts—and potentially run them out of business entirely. When employees work outside of the office, they no longer have access to the secure company network. Training them on how to safely use the internet, from avoiding public Wi-Fi to enabling email encryption, is essential. These cyber security best practices for remote and hybrid workers can get you started.


Set Up Emergency Work Plan Communication Guidelines

There should be a clear and concise communications plan in place when it comes to knowing how to reach each team member. It’s helpful to consolidate contact information in one place and make it well known which channels of communication employees are expected to use (phone, chat tool, team collaboration tool, videoconferencing, email, etc.). Making a list of all team members’ working hours, and accounting for other things that may affect availability (i.e. employees that have to also take care of children at home), helps to keep everyone informed of when they can expect to reach each other.


Plan Meetings Strategically

When your team is no longer in the office, calling a meeting instantaneously can be a challenge. No longer can you walk over to a coworker's desk and ask if they have a moment to chat about a report or any upcoming deadlines. This is where having a formalized, and consistent, meeting schedule is key. Carefully examine meeting schedules and determine which ones are vital, which ones can be postponed, canceled, or when there may be availability for a new meeting.
If your team must work remotely, virtual meetings become all the more important. Not only are they the best time for you to communicate with everyone all at once, but they are also essential to maintaining a shared sense of purpose and keeping your colleagues engaged. Consider implementing daily huddles or weekly team meetings before you must go remote to set a routine. Every team is different, so it’s best to get a plan in place now so a sudden transition to working from home doesn’t put you behind.


Looking for a more productive alternative to email? Try MiCollab and MiTeam Meetings for videoconferencing >

Document and Communicate

During a remote working scenario, important business decisions that were formerly made in conference rooms or offices may now be made in virtual meeting rooms and over group chat. Ensure that those decisions are being documented effectively. It is also ideal to have some sort of shared “hub” where team members can share individual updates that may apply or benefit the entire organization. This can be done with a shared project management tool like MiCollab, an all-in-one solution that enables your team to collaborate with each other no matter where they are or what device they’re using, as well as making it easier for them to share ideas and keep up with projects.


Check In On Your Team

Remote working can be challenging, especially during an emergency. Some of your team members may prefer the solitude of working on their own, while others might find the sudden transition away from their colleagues difficult. Working from home may carry some logistical challenges as well, from having a comfortable at-home setup to having the monitors and other equipment your employees need to work efficiently.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make a needed transition to working from home suitable for everyone. Speak to your team to ensure they have what they need at home to work. If your employees are already working a hybrid schedule, they are likely already set up. As for the mental impact of remote working, you can address that by encouraging participation in your meetings, pairing team members up on projects so everyone has someone to collaborate with, and hosting virtual happy hours and other casual team-building events.

If, or when, everyone does need to work from home, don’t forget to check in on your team – not just from a work perspective to ensure projects are still moving along – but also to make sure their mental well-being is holding up.


Identify What Worked and What Didn’t

Taking note of what is working while a full team is remote is important to identify any shifts that may need to happen in the future to benefit your company.  In the case that video conferencing is so effective that it allows a business to cut costs for travel, for example, or that it gives employees an added layer of flexibility that they didn’t have before, then a company can take what they learned from when their workforce was remote to move business forward once the emergency is over.

Pandemics like COVID-19 are incredibly challenging, disruptive and confusing for all. Most could not have predicted that their businesses would be facing this challenge during the first half of 2020. Whether your organization had an emergency remote working plan in place, or if you are still working out the kinks, having these tips, and ensuring that you have a plan for any future event that requires a sudden pivot to a virtual work set-up, is important for business continuity. 


Use Own Remote Work Checklist

Emergencies and pandemics like COVID-19 are incredibly challenging, disruptive and stressful for all. Whether your organization has an emergency remote working plan in place or you are still working out the kinks, ensuring that you have a plan for any future event that requires a sudden pivot to a virtual work set-up is important for business continuity. Looking to create your own plan? Our remote work plan template will get you started.

View our remote work plan template HERE >  

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