Late With a Coronavirus Readiness Plan? Here’s What You Can Do

Late With a Coronavirus Readiness Plan? Here's What You Can Do

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads to more cities across the country, you may begin to worry that you have not done enough to prepare for an outbreak in your community. If you have found yourself wondering how you can protect your staff, or what you would do if social distancing measures forced you to work remotely, you are not alone. However, it is never too late to create a coronavirus readiness plan for your business.

To make sure that your company is not caught by surprise, here are just a few of the steps that you can take to prepare for the spread of coronavirus. 

Stay Informed

In order to make sure that your business is prepared for, and your employees are protected against, the potential spread of coronavirus, it is important that you stay informed about the latest news and guidelines relating to the virus and social distancing protocols. The CDC has a lot of resources available on their website that can help you to learn more about how the coronavirus spreads, and what you should do to keep your staff safe in the coming weeks.

The CDC also has special resources available for businesses that can help you to learn more about ways to keep your office clean and your employees healthy as the coronavirus spreads. It is also important that you listen to local, state, and federal recommendations on how businesses should respond to the coronavirus, which may include limiting company functions and implementing social distancing.  

Communicate With Staff  

Of course, your primary defense against the spread of illness in the office is your staff, which is why it is important that you keep your staff informed on the latest information regarding coronavirus developments and protection. You should also consider messaging staff to remind them to do their part to maintain a healthy work environment by washing their hands frequently, getting enough sleep, and keeping their distance from others when possible. It is also more critical than ever that you encourage sick employees to stay home and that you consider allowing sick employees to work from home for a while once they have recovered.  

Create a Remote Work Plan

If more strict social distancing protocols are implemented in your community, you may find that you and your staff are required to shelter-in-place. In order to ensure that you are able to maintain productivity should this happen, it is important that you develop an effective remote work plan that will make it as simple as possible for your staff to work from home. It is important that you think about whether your employees have the necessary tools to work from home, and whether your employees have the ability to easily access business solutions and systems remotely if need be.

You do not want to find out that your staff cannot, or do not know how to, access and complete their work should they be forced to work from home. Consider surveying employees to find out if they have the adequate tools and equipment to work from home, and make plans to help those who do not feel ready to prepare for the possibility of telecommuting. It is also important to assess what jobs can easily be done from home, what positions may need tweaking to accommodate remote work, and if there are any essential jobs that cannot be done remotely.   

Invest in Telecommuting Technology

In addition to making sure that your staff is ready to work from home, you will also want to make sure that your company has the right technology and business solutions to support remote work. You will need to make sure that you set up the right collaboration tools such as internal communications programs or secure Wi-Fi networks and access points to allow for remote work. Make sure that your staff has access to, and knows how to use, collaborative software such as Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, as this can be essential in allowing for successful remote collaboration. 

Once you know what needs to be done to prepare your company for a coronavirus outbreak, you can create an action plan specific to your business that will ensure that you are ready for anything that may happen in the coming weeks.

Contact us to learn more about solutions that can help your business to prepare for potential social distancing measures and remote work. 

Microsoft Teams Adds New Functionality in 2019

Microsoft Teams Adds New Functionality in 2019
Microsoft Teams

As we settle into the new year, many companies are beginning to roll out updates and upgrades to their tools and systems. Microsoft is no exception. Microsoft continues to add value to the Microsoft Teams tool with new functions and capabilities. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Communication

Effective communication within a business requires tools and products that can work together seamlessly. Teams is adding the new functionality of Teams Rooms and Teams-Only mode to further streamline Teams communication elements. Teams Rooms is basically a re-brand of the Skype rooms system with the added functionality of proximity detection so that nearby rooms can be added if needed. Teams-Only mode allows companies to make a seamless switch from Skype for Business to Teams by enabling Teams as the primary communication tool for their organization. IT Administrators will have the capability to upgrade only select people to Teams Only or enable an entire organization or group.

IT Administration

Teams is rolling out some new tools for IT administration of Teams. In order to help an organization run smoothly, the IT administration needs to have a good idea of how their tools are being used and be able to tailor tools to their users specific needs. With the addition of usage reports, IT Administrators can view Teams usage, user activity, and device usage to determine how well their organization is adopting Teams and if they are using it to its full capabilities.

Teams Templates

When you find something that works for you, you want to be able to replicate it, right? The Teams Templates function allows IT Administrators to pre-define channels, apps, and tabs that their organization can use as a template when building a new project in teams. This allows the organization to focus more on their collaboration and spend less front-end time setting up the system. Teams is also introducing a set of industry-specific templates for education, retail, and healthcare focused on the organizational areas where they are most likely to use Teams. IT Administrators will be able to customize and expand these template to better fit their organization by leveraging new APIs.

Employee Empowerment

Microsoft understands that everyone works a little differently and work styles change across role, function, and industry. Microsoft is committed to enabling Teams as a tool that everyone can use to meet their needs and work to the best of their abilities. The new Shifts functionality in Teams simplifies the process of planning and creating schedules by offering key capabilities to both managers and workers. You will also be able to integrate your workforce management system with Teams by leveraging a Graph API. Additionally, key mobile features such as location sharing, record and share audio messages, and smart camera are being enabled. The mobile experience is customizable to provide workers and IT teams the ability to choose the capabilities most useful for their organization.

Customization

Build and enable your bots to become more powerful and impactful by engaging new capabilities like retrieving a list of channels in a team, creating a 1:1 chat with a specific user, or accepting messages only from specific users.

Microsoft is constantly adding new and improved apps to Teams. Karmabot, MindMeisterThe Connector for Jira server, and Atlassian’s Confluence Cloud are a few recent additions that have a made a big impact in furthering Teams’ collaboration capabilities.

Teams continues to grow and evolve as a communication and collaboration tool for businesses with new updates rolling our regularly. Reach out to 4CornerIT for your Teams enablement and IT needs.