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We may have to change the way we work

Global health emergencies, like Covid-19, are scary, disruptive, and confusing for everyone. could change the way we work! 

“Disruption to everyday life may be severe,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, cautioned at a news conference Tuesday. “Schools could be closed, mass public gatherings suspended, and businesses forced to have employees work remotely.”

Business travel could decrease or come to a full stop. 

You May have to work remotely – with Video conferencing being the main  means of communication

Here is the inevitable post-crisis question: 

“Why don’t we do this all the time?”

Cali Williams Yost, CEO and founder of Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit shares five steps to reconfigure your workforce 

Acknowledge the possibility that all or part of your workforce may need to work remotely.

Gather a cross-functional team that includes business-line leaders, IT, HR, communications, and facilities to start to plan for different scenarios and optimize execution, should circumstances require a rapid response.

Map out jobs and tasks that could be affected.

Note which roles and duties: 

1) Can be done, even partially, without a physical presence in the workplace, 

2) Cannot be done, even somewhat, outside of the physical office, and 

3) Not sure.

for those in the “not sure” column – experiment 

CFO, CMO , Accountant , Marketing , Salesforce – do they need to be at work? 

Make sure you have strong systems – where everything is documented and your team members can follow what is done for the client .

Audit available IT hardware and software, and close any gaps in access and adoption. 

applications, such as video conferencing and other collaboration/communication platforms need to be state of the art.

Where you find gaps, provide training and opportunities for practice before people need to use them. 

Real-time mastery is not optimal and is inefficient. 

Identify devices owned by the organization that people could use and clarify acceptable “bring your own” phone and laptop options. Determine if there are any data-security issues to consider and how best to address them beforehand.

Set up a communications protocol in advance

This communications plan needs to outline: how to reach everybody (e.g., all contact information in one place, primary communication channels clarified — email, IM, Slack, teams etc.); how employees are expected to respond to customers; and how and when teams will coordinate and meet.  

Identify ways to measure performance that could inform broader change.

Depending upon the outcomes, you may decide to continue certain aspects of the flexible response permanently. 

For example, perhaps you cut business travel by 25% and substitute video conferencing. 

You determine afterward that about 80% of those meetings were equally as effective virtually. 

Therefore, a 20% decrease in business travel will continue, but this time as part of the organization’s sustainability strategy to cut carbon emissions.

And if you plan and nothing happens? Then, at minimum, you have an organized, flexible work disaster response ready the next time there’s a challenge to operational continuity, which chances are, there will be!!

Posted on March 2, 2020

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