Businesses must be prepared for emergencies! Business hours will change. You will experience supply chain delays as key service providers react. Sometimes you will experience utilities and internet outages. Most importantly, in extreme cases, operational shutdowns and loss of property can occur. When the entire world is suffering from a pandemic, natural disaster, or recession, business leaders must move to emergency protocols to support the customer experience, remote teams, and business operations.
Business continuity, especially related to the flow of sales and profits, is essential to ensure organizations avoid drastic measures like employee lay-offs or furloughs. In order to sustain operations, many managers transition their teams to a remote environment. This is the time to utilize business process outsourcing. It is challenging to handle remote organizations in the hours of uncertainty. Honestly, if you are doing this for the first time, the whole experience can be terrifying.
Here are a few expert tips for maintaining business continuity during disasters and pandemics:
Maintain a daily video check-in and make it fun.
First, create and keep regular check-ins with the team. Regardless of performance, a routine meeting on the calendar with video interactions creates accountability and comradery. Emails, telephone conversations, and Slack will support and facilitate communication, but your team needs to see you. To do this, you can use some online services such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and even FB Messenger. These are solutions with simple set up and free options, great for beginners!
Provide clear messaging that supports remote teams.
Regular communication with your team alleviates confusion, supports contingencies, and can help you improve performance. Above all, it is essential to communicate clear messages to your organization related to shifts in their typical working environments. Also, it is imperative that you maintain regular operations related to HR, even when your HR team is working from home.
In addition, when your teams have a habit of working in an office, and they experience a sudden shift to remote environments, they may feel isolated and alone working from home. This scenario is even more prevalent when people are following protocols related to social distancing. Managers need to maintain routine communication with AI-powered automation to manage, track, and inform employees, and help them stay motivated.
Use advanced technologies and AI-powered tools.
For a manager to keep teams connected, you must understand the latest technologies and incorporate them into your business continuity plan. Text messages, or SMS, and emails are a fantastic solution and can easily be automated to share mass messaging with your team. You can think of using advanced tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack (offers a free version).
Maintaining employee absence protocols and HR request operations is essential. Utilize an AI-powered call-out line to automate absence tracking with a phone line. Setup an 800-number or forward an office line to create a one-stop-shop for your employees where they can call in and get important information via a hotline and even report PTO, sick, FMLA, and more. These are the most reliable choices for enhanced communication levels and collaborations.
Create realistic expectations and set goals.
As an owner, executive, or manager, you need to set up some realistic expectations with your team and partners. Consider a business process outsourcing partner, BPO, to handle tasks like receptionist, order processing and support, appointment management, and more. As you utilize new technologies and teams, assign other key tasks to support an overflow in requests, work on long-term business goals, etc.
Success measures must be clearly defined, and deadlines, scopes, and deliverables must be mentioned. When people are already scared due to crisis, the workflow must be maintained in some creative and reliable manner.
Outcomes matter the most!
When your teams are working from different locations, they will be following different work routines. In this scenario, it is better to focus on outcomes instead of activity levels. Focus on strengthening all aspects of work rather than individual moments.
Give your team resources.
Support success and ensure your teams have all the essential resources with them. They may need some necessary tools like mobile devices, laptops, software, and reliable internet connection. Make sure they have access to updates and resources from the CDC, State, and Local Government, FEMA, etc. Utilize AI-powered call-out, hotlines, and greetings to direct your team to essential messages and requests related to hours, shift changes, and sick/PTO tracking
Be flexible and offer support.
Depending upon the situation, it is better to allow your teams to work with flexible routines. Trust their work and give them some freedom to get the job done. It may boost their morale, and they may show better performance.