How You Can Best Help The Workforce in The Coronavirus Crisis

Photo Credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet Flickr via Compfight cc

IT leaders are known to always be on the hot seat, working under pressure, but the coronavirus pandemic has taken it to another dimension altogether. Being in charge of technology for your organization has always not been easy as you don’t know when a serious crisis is brewing but what we have currently is that everybody was hit at the same time with little or no room for preparedness. 

Everybody is right now trying to work remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt that the transition in working habits that are bordered on technology and culture must have to be going through a lot of stress and you need to put in place a huge amount of effective change management in these very tough circumstances. 

How are you going to handle the fact that people must work from environments not conducive to work? There must be constraints in the workspace, some people may need to work from home where there are kids especially now that schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

You must have been having difficulties focusing on the mental well-being of your workforce knowing perfectly that this is the engine room, now, however, it has become more critical and it is affecting everybody at the same time. What advice do you have for the people, knowing surely well they will always put family first? 

Must you come up with out of the box ideas in order to weather the storm? As an IT leader, you need a wide scope of strategies. 

If you actually want your organization to still stay floating at the end of the coronavirus pandemic, you must prepare your workforce to work on resilience and one of the challenges you have to face is making sure your team can work from home. 

Possibly, this may have been in your pipeline but you couldn’t have perfected it to the extent that virtually everyone or about 95% of staff will not report physically to work any day. Now that you don’t have other options, your immediate step must be to meet up with staff demands and needs such as how to run meetings and effective conference calls. 

Fortunately, apps like Skype have been around for quite some time now and people have gotten a handle to them but the problem will be how you can most effectively deploy them if you run a multi-site operation. The other important thing you must take care of is network connectivity depending on the extent of the area you need to cover. 

It’s definitely going to be a tough one because your workforce has to be assured that all will work out well. On the other hand, you must have the assurance of your service providers about the concerns that will emanate from a large number of people unusually making use of the network and the potential for networks to become overloaded. 

The central focus must be on how to look after the workforce. Employees will be impacted to different degrees and there is the need to understand that people are not equally endowed especially where it has to do with the ability to withstand stress. 

It’s essential that no one is sidelined, employees with kids who are used to childcare for their kids when at work won’t have access to such opportunities now and there is the absolute need to show understanding and flexibility. Coronavirus is affecting everybody your customers inclusive so, you need to also have them in your plans.

Do they have changing needs? You must reach out and do everything possible to adapt to their needs also. You will still need them to a very large extent at the end of the pandemic.

It’s true that some service providers like Zoom are having a running battle with cybersecurity issues recently and a lot of organizations are disengaging with them, but Zoom video conferencing technology was a veritable source of communication among employees prior to the reports of Zoom bombers and videos of chats available online. Good enough, Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan has apologized to users, and the firm is now aiming to make the service more secure by default.

You can also avail yourself of the opportunities created by document-sharing service providers such as Confluence, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs. 

Expectedly, there will be elements of “misalignments or misunderstandings now that the team members do not have face-to-face conversations. This can, however, be taken care of by using video conferencing services to arrange social gatherings, where team members swap coping mechanisms, exchange survival stories, share a drink and have some fun over video chat. 

A setup like this will go a long way in making employees who are single to feel more with the world. They can by this be able to cope with the boredom associated with the isolation occasioned by the coronavirus.

You need to understand the possibility of having two or more people from the same home are not working in the same organization but must carry on their different works for their different organizations. In this kind of environment, kids may also have the need to live-stream one thing or the other. 

All these will put too much pressure on ISPs’ infrastructure and services. Cases will occur where users will have to struggle as a result of their own broadband limitations.

If your employees can perform better by tethering to their mobile phones, you will need to enhance that. Alternatively, you can go ahead to provide Mi-Fi mobile devices to help those users who don’t have broadband at home. 

Whatever measure you take to make life easier for them during this coronavirus pandemic, always prioritize security.

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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