Emergency remote-work plan

Coronavirus and the workplace: Why every business needs an emergency remote-work plan

Michael Anderson Disaster Recovery, IT Best Practices, IT Managed Services

Emergency remote-work plan

As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”

According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus (COVID-19) that originated in Wuhan City, China is still mostly affecting people in that country with outbreaks in others, including 33 confirmed cases in Canada as of March 3 (10 a.m. CST).

While we don’t yet know a lot about how the coronavirus spreads, it’s a good idea for all organizations to have a standing plan in place to minimize business workflow should it ever become necessary for employees to work from home – for everyone’s health and safety.

The first step is to create an emergency remote-work plan in advance of needing it.

In the plan:

  1. Map out jobs and tasks that could take place outside of the office.
  2. Audit your IT hardware and software, asking yourself the questions below.
  3. Create a communication protocol.

Here are some IT questions to ask yourself to ensure your employees have the right hardware, software, and communication equipment to work from home:

1. How will your employees access their work remotely?

  • Do they have laptops or mobile devices that they can take home to access their work?
  • Can they use their home computers for work purposes? Do these computers have the right software and hardware to access their work?
  • Are your organization’s documents stored in the Cloud (such as Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint)?
  • Does your organization use web-based applications? Are these applications installed on your employees’ hardware? Do your employees know how to access your web-based applications, including email, from home?

2. Do you have the right communication equipment?

  • How will you deal with incoming calls to the office?
  • How will team members communicate with each other (for instance, by using software, like Microsoft teams)?
  • Will employees use their personal phones, or will you use web-based software? Do you have an employee remote-contact information list readily available to distribute?

3. How will meetings take place? 

  • Do you need web-based meeting software (such as Microsoft Teams)?
  • Do you require cameras on your employees’ devices for meetings?

This kind of plan might seem like a low priority on your list, especially since Canada’s coronavirus cases are in the low double digits; however, keep in mind that a crisis plan is for “the worst-case scenario,” and may never be required. Like an “in case of emergency, break glass” case, it’s there if you need it.

As your IT professionals, we are here to ensure that your organization and staff have the right technical hardware, software and protocols to allow your staff to work from home seamlessly. For more information, contact Steffyann Bisnauth, Business Development Coordinator.

For the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak, symptoms, travel advice and prevention, visit the Government of Canada’s Outbreak Update page.