The ultimate remote work checklist to support your coronavirus responseWednesday, 18th March 2020
Guest post by Jennie Wong, Ph.D., Slalom Business Advisory Services
Focusing on people, process, and technology matters more than ever. This quick checklist can help your organization stay connected and productive during rapidly changing circumstances.
While no one can predict the course of COVID-19, we can reasonably expect that it will not be the last time our global economy faces this type of challenge. As of mid-March, Bloomberg projected that the worldwide economic impact of the current coronavirus could top $2.7 trillion dollars and will necessitate a full-scale response from all sectors of society to mitigate risk and lessen the damage.
While there are many factors outside of our control, there is one clear imperative for organizations of all sizes: to prepare their people, systems, policies, and stakeholders for remote working where possible. This social distancing strategy will not only help to reduce individual exposure; it may also have the larger benefit of reducing spikes in demand for public health services.
The number of employees in your company who can work remotely will vary depending on your specific industry and staffing mix, but most companies have at least a portion of their workforce who can telecommute to support social distancing.
With that in mind, you can use this checklist to guide critical conversations with a holistic view, from strategy through change management. Your community is our community, and we are here to support your strategy, technology, and transformation needs. If you’d like help assessing your company’s specific situation, prioritizing your options, or executing next steps, please reach out to your local Slalom office.
- Are your C-level executives aligned on enterprise contingency plans and their financial implications for different threat-levels and scenarios (e.g., city-wide quarantines, air travel restrictions, productivity loss)? Are senior and mid-level leaders aware of your contingency plans?
- Does each function and/or department have a response plan?
- Has your organization designated a point person and support team to coordinate the collection and verification of information and communication of updates? Are communication protocols in place to respond to a quickly changing situation without panic?
- Are there change management resources in place who can facilitate necessary awareness and education?
- Is your essential workforce equipped with the right hardware for remote work?
- What percentage of your potential telecommuters have reliable connectivity from home?
- Are all critical applications available remotely?
- Is remote access (e.g., VPN) enabled for the right workers?
- Can your infrastructure support the additional bandwidth? Has appropriate load testing been performed?
- Are there processes in place for granting or restoring access? Are there any single points of failure (e.g., a sole approver for RSA tokens)?
- Does your organization have collaboration tools that are well-adopted?
- Are there “blind spots” for the availability of relevant assets, such as files and databases?
- What dry runs or simulations should be performed in the coming days to ensure preparedness?
- Have you identified your essential roles and contingency staffing/succession plans?
- Are time-entry, payroll, benefits, and other employee systems accessible to all workers?
- Will your employees have the support they need if they have to care for dependents (e.g. school closures, sick parents)? Do your employees know how to access mental health resources if they need them?
Are your managers trained to effectively lead remote teams? For example:
- Execute project-based work, manage performance, and monitor key metrics while working remotely
- Select the best channel and implement the right cadence for different types of communication (e.g., chat for time-sensitive information vs. post to MS Teams)
- Create accountability, provide feedback, and reinforce expectations
- Maintain morale and rapport within remote teams (e.g. planned time to talk about the weekend)
- Model company norms for remote working (e.g., all-or-none participation for remote meetings, turning on your video camera)
Are your people empowered to work remotely?
- Do they know how to use the collaboration tools that are available to them?
- Do they know how to manage the risks of remote work (e.g., laptop security)?
- Is there a clear policy for what equipment and services can be expensed?
- Are employees able to quickly request and receive access to applications and assets as they become necessary?
- For COVID-19 specifically, will your company’s insurance plan cover testing and treatment? If not, what supplemental response is needed?
- Do you have the right policies in place to enable remote work, especially on an extended basis? Do you have any existing policies that prevent or hinder remote work?
- Are your policies for sick time sufficiently flexible to accommodate a large-scale public health crisis?
Customers and Stakeholders
- Have you performed an impact analysis for remote work scenarios on your customers or stakeholders?
- Are you set up for real-time communication to customers and stakeholders in a quickly changing situation?
- Are you prepared to share your organizations business continuity plans with external audiences?
While the current crisis serves as a catalyst for action, there is also the potential for lasting cultural change within the global business community. Long after COVID-19 is behind us, we may find that our normative ways of working have shifted permanently to remote work as the default option. Developed nations have had the means for remote work for many years, but never the moment — until now.