Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados are some of the disasters we plan for in business, but does your business have a pandemic plan? Being prepared is one thing, but with phrases like self-quarantine being circulated by the CDC and officials, it’s time to start thinking about how to keep your business running when working remotely isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity.

Fortunately for professional services businesses taking advantage of the latest in remote collaboration and productivity technologies, making the transition to a decentralized work model is intuitive. “With programs and support from a Managed Service Provider, like VirtuWorks, work can continue, almost seamlessly, despite quarantined employees or a complete shutdown at the office,” says Omar Armenteros, CEO of VirtuWorks. “Though there are some things that just cannot be done remotely, like pouring concrete, appearing in court, or repairing pipes, there are many aspects of a business that can continue.”

Coronavirus and Communication Options for Employees 

Major companies, like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have all asked at least a portion of their employees to work from home in response to the Coronavirus. While large, tech-savvy and mostly technology-based companies can make that transition much more easily, that doesn’t mean small businesses across the country can’t as well. The top priority when moving staff from in-office to remote is to maintain internal communication. This can be done with a variety of support systems. 

Having a solid VoIP PBX system means you can work from anywhere and still make and receive phone calls as if you were sitting in your office. Because of the lack of physical limitations, your employees can work from home and still maintain productivity. Being able to pick up the phone and reach employees or clients is a pivotal aspect of working remotely.

Microsoft Teams offers a multi-point communication system between employees both within a company and externally.

  • Instant messages mimick intra-office conversations
  • Group chat and video conferencing features can replace meetings of any size
  • Consolidated team calendars allow everyone to know what’s going and when

Collaboration is vital to many businesses and productivity can be lost when people don’t have an efficient way to create ideas together. Microsoft Office and OneDrive are both designed to encourage collaboration, whether you are in an office together, or in separate spaces. This can keep your team flowing, despite the distance.

Maintaining Client Communications

While ensuring internal functions are humming is vital, equally important is maintaining contact with the outside world. Keeping in mind the importance of ease of communication with customers that are not as well prepared, is key to having a more positive experience during troublesome times.

Having a hosted VoIP PBX system means your clients can still call the same phone number when they want to speak with you. MS Teams, in the same ways, manages internal communications. This is extremely useful for business continuity. Its video chat functions can mimic personal client interaction, allowing you to see your client ‘face-to-face’ and maintain open lines of communication. 

Coronavirus Response and Beyond

Technology can help maintain the functionality of some, if not all, aspects of your business. Take time to evaluate which tasks can potentially be done remotely and who can work from home. A bit of forethought now can save time and resources in the future. VirtuWorks can help set up a comprehensive plan of action and get the necessary components in place. Hopefully, this plan won’t be needed now, or in the near future in response to the Coronavirus potential pandemic, but having a plan in place is your best defense, from a business perspective.