Business Pandemic: Operating Safely in an Outbreak

At the time of this writing, the coronavirus outbreak has struck fear into the hearts of people worldwide. People are scared to go into crowded public places, or go outside at all—this obviously has had a disastrous impact on business of all kinds.

If people are too concerned about their health to drive to work, work will not be done. Now all is not lost—indeed, this crisis may provide businesses the final push they need to embrace one of the fastest growing trends across the workforce: remote work. Implementing and supporting remote work for your employees has a multitude of benefits that extend beyond keeping everyone safe in the modern crisis; it provides a great deal of flexibility with your employees’ location, and allows for a better customization of each individual’s work-life balance. If remote work is not an option for your organization, then we will also discuss how to sanitize common equipment like phones and computers, to make sure your tools are safe to use.

Initially, implementing remote work for your team can be tricky, but there are a few straightforward pieces of advice that we can provide for making things more efficient for everybody. To begin, the most important rule and requirement for remote work is to communicate constantly and clearly. Weekly one-on-one meetings can be a great way to schedule consistent contact with your team; meetings will generally include goals, upcoming projects, problems and concerns. On the employee side of things, clearly track your time and progress on your various projects.

Our next tip is to set up/utilize platforms or services that facilitate remote collaborate work; platforms like GitHub, Atom, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. These tools will greatly aid the communication process, and help standardize the workflow for your teams. If you need assistance with setting up these kinds of platforms, or with setting up VPN and remote access lists, Attentus can be the answer. Give us a call.

Our final tip is simple: be forgiving and flexible with the working times of your workers—at least during this current time of crisis. Trust that your staff will complete their projects, but also be mindful of the fact that this work might not be done during normal business hours—there is a viral outbreak right now. Your staff will (rightly) prioritize the health of their families over their job, so give them some flexibility. Trust your team.

Regardless of whether your organization can support remote work or not, all organizations in the modern world use phones and computers. In a time where a viral outbreak is spreading worldwide, it only makes sense to review some basic sanitation and cleaning practices. We don’t often think about cleaning our keyboards, our phones, our mice, or our monitors. Sanitizing your common electronics can be the simple and straightforward way you reduce the chances of infection. With all electronics, the following steps apply:

1. Turn off the device, and unplug it entirely.
2. Disconnect any peripheral devices (Mouse, monitor, keyboard, etc).
a. Remove the battery from laptop computers after closing it down. Open it again once the battery is removed.
3. Remove dirt, dust, crumbs, etc. from the device using a can of compressed air. Hold it roughly 6 inches away from the surface.

Once you’ve performed these three steps on your device, your sanitization steps will vary. With a monitor, dampen a microfiber cloth with water and gently wipe the screen, then use a disinfectant wipe specially designed for LCD and laptop screens. For phones and computers, a bleach-free wipe or a soft cloth dabbed in isopropyl alcohol will be what you use to wipe down the entire surface of the equipment. Just remember to be gentle and thorough, and you should be nice and clean!