Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer at Zoho says with many people looking to avoid travel for fear of contagion, its important to have access to remote tools to ensure it can be business as usual.
“Work, productivity, and output need not suffer in a broadband-connected world, provided we have the right tools,” says Sundaram.
“Most companies think of remote tools as mostly meeting and conferencing tools. These are important in the sense that they are substitutes for actual travel, but they’re “live” and require all participants to be on at the same time, as with a physical meeting.
“But there are other communication tools designed for corporate-types, typically built over consumer-style messaging or chat platforms, that allow for remote engagement in efforts like project planning, reviews, and discussions. Participants can share documents, invoke bots to perform tasks, and work towards outcomes that don’t require live participation from everyone.”
Sundaram says remote workplace tools allow businesses and remote staff to participate as if they were actually in the same space.
“This helps businesses keep open their distributed operations and connections to their customers and suppliers, which helps slow down the economic impact of the virus.”
Sundaram’s tips for business owners worried about the impact of coronavirus
There is always something to be learned during times of crisis. Approach this one the same way.
- Broadband is your saviour. Use it.
- Use software from companies like Zoho to manage and coordinate remote work.
- Set up all your satellite offices to work independently and avoid creating central points of failure.
- Create flexible policies for your employees to show that you care about them and their families before they need to bring it up with you. This is the time to show your human side.
- Take the time gained from the avoidance of travel and pick a few projects that you’ve always planned to work on and do them now.
However, having employees work remotely is easier said than done. Many organisations do not have the resources, software, infrastructure, bandwidth or even the culture to support it, especially small and mid-sized companies.