The Mass Disruption of Workplace Environments During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated: 5 days ago
Coronavirus Creates Uncertain Times for Businesses
Strange times. Strange times, indeed.
For several weeks now, we’ve been completely uprooted. Forcefully shaken out of our routines. Not just from a work/business perspective, but personally. We’re learning more about ourselves than many of us ever cared to know, if we’re being honest. What would it be like if I homeschooled my children? Am I a good teacher? How patient am I with my spouse if I’m around him/her all day? How do I keep my family safe, while maintaining some semblance of normalcy and sanity? How much longer will this last?
And what of work? This pandemic disruption has sent millions of “non-essential” workers fleeing from public job spaces, and those of us fortunate to still have our jobs are scrambling to figure out how to shift our entire work paradigm into a mostly unfamiliar virtual model.
Markets are tanking with the economy as production across almost every industry is disrupted, from international supply lines to domestic skilled resources. Business leaders are faced with agonizing choices between critical revenue generation and employee safety, and we’ve all witnessed some questionable decisions across the country given the gravity of this virus.
Remote Work Required: Some Companies Can’t Cut It
We’re learning quickly and painfully just how many of our jobs can actually be performed, and to what extent, being physically away from the office and our coworkers. Virtual work is routine for a small percentage of the workforce in the US, including our own TechFides team.
Others work virtually on occasion (Friday remote days seem to be commonplace). Many roles could be performed virtually, but are more effective in live contact, such as salespeople, financial advisors, primary care physicians performing routine visits, teachers, consultants, and many more. And some jobs simply can’t be performed virtually under any circumstances, like line manufacturing, construction, repair technicians, surgeons, and critical care health professionals, the latter of which are operating in the midst of this pandemic.
The dividing line that has emerged for most organizations is what separates “could” from “can.” If circumstances dictated, certain roles could be performed virtually, but does an organization have the infrastructure, technical capability, and bandwidth to actually allow an employee to do so? This question has never really been required to have an answer, until March 2020.
Quite suddenly, it’s become the key metric that will determine whether many businesses sink or swim as we navigate through this massive disruption.
Navigate from Home to Work
There are two important issues to tackle. The immediate question is, “How do I get and keep my business above water in the short term, until the world of social interaction gradually returns to normal state?”
Effectively figuring out how to answer this question could determine if a business will even need to bother with the second question: “How do I prepare my organization for when this happens again?” And this will happen again—it’s always been a question of “when,” not “if,” and now the world understands this. So what are the most important things to keep in mind while transitioning to remote work?
Now it’s more important than ever to ensure your teams all have consistent and productive lines of communication. Implement video calls over Zoom or Skype to ensure people still chat face-to-face during meetings. Have everyone download Slack or WhatsApp to make sure every team member is connected to each other and can discuss work projects in an organized manner. And — just as important — make sure you have opportunities for employees to connect over morning coffee hangouts or virtual gaming nights. This will boost everyone’s morale and ensure they all feel they’re in this together.
Access to Critical Systems and Data
For many companies, tasks and duties can only be completed if employees have proper access to critical systems and data that they'd have easy access to at the workplace. If an entire accounting department can’t gather in a typical cube farm, select employees can pull reports and data from systems in the office and disperse them via email. It helps speed up the process if your company has enterprise software, which securely stores and displays complex data. TechFides can help you understand your business’ capabilities and how to stabilize your company’s future in this new technology landscape.
How TechFides Can Help Your Company Adapt to COVID-19
This accessibility metric spans several of TechFides’ service offerings:
This service assesses an organization’s level of digitized systems and processes vs. analog (typically paper-based). If accounting invoices are paper-based, as is common in smaller companies, there is simply no way to access that data by any other means than having a piece of paper physically in front of you.
Digitizing data allows a business’s content, whether marketing, sales, engineering, supply chain, logistics, budgeting, and much more, to be shared across functions, integrated, and built into decision-able, actionable datasets and information that are far greater than the sum of its parts. Digitization prepares data for use and access by the rest of an organization. Building the infrastructure and architecture for that access and usage, often called digitalization, is the larger and more critical component of the digitization process.
TechFides excels at ground-up digitization assessments, and building strategies in alignment with IT portfolios to fully integrate all of an enterprise’s functional towers, and the systems, platforms, and data they use.
IT Performance Management
This service assesses the efficiency (or inefficiency) of an organization’s infrastructure and IT processes and capability to meet deliverables, and builds a plan and roadmap to optimize performance in full alignment with IT and overall enterprise strategies.
In light of recent events, the assessment of a business’s capability to shift work environments (mass exodus from offices to virtual workspaces, in this case) has become the critical measure of mass disruption preparedness. How robust is a VPN architecture? How many users can it simultaneously accommodate? What security protocols are in place? What systems and platforms can and can’t be accessed remotely? Where are the gaps?
TechFides and our partners can guide an enterprise to an understanding of current capabilities and shortfalls, and build an effective plan to quickly bring a business up to functional speed in the short-term, while also becoming fundamentally secure, safe, and prepared in the longer-term.
While TechFides partners with a number of renowned software and solutions publishers and providers, one of our guiding principles is that every client’s needs are unique, and no single solution works for everybody. We strive to be impartial and technologically agnostic when we assess needs, requirements, and solutions. Our team can help get your operations back up and running in the face of this disruption, and help make sure your organization is fully prepared with the best solutions, strategies, and capabilities in place for the next time this happens.
Contact TechFides today to learn more about our services. We hope you and your families stay safe and protected in these trying times, and we’ll do everything we can to facilitate the ability of your workforce to minimize the spread of this virus and save lives.