A few weeks now with the lockdown and social distancing, your organization should be gearing up to 'when this is over' scenario.
The Canadian government has expressed that these measures wont be lifted until a vaccine is available for treatments.
It could take a few more weeks, which to me is a good precautionary step and a good way also to express that it would soon be over than later.
Now is the time to look at your mitigation measures and adapt to the recovery and stabilization phase once measures are lifted. Businesses can start operating again, events/conferences can be held, travel bans are lifted, and slowly things will get back to the new normal.
When this thing is over, here are some of the questions you may think about:
1) In these few weeks, what did you find about your organization in terms of coping up, being resilient, and taking leadership? What surprised you the most?
2) What opportunities are you maximizing and sustaining in the new order to become a better organization?
3) What practices, systems, and mentalities need to be discarded in order to give way to the new configuration?
4) What capacities are needed/strengthened to continue your market edge and leadership?
It is reported that there are million job losses in Canada for the past few weeks due to the economic shutdown. There will be more catastrophic impacts to be documented in the next few months down the road. This is not the time to have a 'wait and see' attitude.
You need to 'build back better' by starting now and assuming a clear and well-defined strategic position towards recovery.
We wake up in the morning.
We get ready for home-based work.
We tell ourselves that this is another week.
We can do good. We can be better.
We can be productive and positive In spite of the difficulties.
We get our acts together, focus on what we can accomplish today.
Today and the next few weeks will be very important to scale down the spread.
We live everyday with the conviction and hope that it will pass too.
We will go back to our lives stronger and more resilient as people.
We create a new pattern, a new way of doing, and a new way of thinking that reflect what we need for the moment.
These new scripts are very important to keep us on track and not slide down to getting stuck.
We can overcome!
This time no one wants to feel isolated especially those who are in business.
Some of your suppliers, partners, and clients are hurting at the moment.
This is the time to reach out and tell them you care, you know that there are shared experiences, and you are there to help.
I have been doing that in all of my community members.
Because number one, you are not working or dealing with an organization, you are dealing with people.
People are scared, afraid, and unable to make sense of what is happening.
Provide that support and leverage your mission and resources to have that extra-customer service that they would need at this time.
During crisis time, it is not ethical to be sleazy and capitalizing on someone's pain.
But you need to be present and make the effort to be relevant with results.
Commiserating is good but working with them towards practical solutions is way better!
How do you manage remote teams and ensure that productivity and quality work are guaranteed?
There many ways to do that:
1. Communicate the outcomes needed to be produced on a weekly basis. Know what each of the staff will be delivering and give them the timeline to accomplish those.
2. Make regular check-ins to see how they are doing. Some would be sick and will be self-isolating and some will not be able to work at all due to childcare issues and other reasons.
3. Get a standby roster of contract staff that you can use in emergency situations. Let me them know that you might need them to complete a certain task, or a project that needs their expertise and skills on a short-term basis.
4. Confine your communication to a few emails per day. Too many communications can make them feel overwhelmed as a single email can have several agenda on it.
5. Create a tier of managers that staff can communicate on a regular basis. Even yourself can fall sick and not be available for days. Have a list of other people to connect with so that information flows smoothly.
6. Empower them to make decisions at their level. Give them permission to make some mistakes as things are fluid and that today could be different from yesterday and the day before. Scheduling can be done online and let people know what's the best time to for the online meet.
7. Take time to celebrate remote staffs' achievement by giving them regular feedback about their work. If they are doing well, let them know. If they are struggling, let them know you are available to support them. Remote work is tough and the first few weeks could be slow crawl for some.
I hope these are helpful. Stay healthy!