by Carlene Jackson

As every day passes, the news reports of the Coronavirus feel more and more alarming. UK government officials are forecasting up to one fifth of the workforce being off at the peak of the epidemic.

Even the most forward-planning businesses are having to put their ambitious and best-laid plans aside, instead focusing on survival as the primary strategy.

It’s looking increasingly likely that schools will close, and mass self-isolation could well be enforced. Have you thought about the members of your workforce who may have unexpected childcare implications? Or who may suddenly need to be out of the office for weeks? Enabling your workforce to be able to work from home and having a robust and clearly communicated contingency plan in place to allow that – needs to be something you do right now.

Utilise your existing tools

The good news is, most organisations already have the business technology embedded to enable their workforce to ride out the possibility of a pandemic, and continue ‘business as usual’ as much as possible.

We are among the fortunate sectors, where all work can be undertaken remotely, dealing with clients or member of the team from any location.

At Cloud9, we have a company-wide Whatsapp group that allows easy out of office communication, which may include instruction to not come to the. In addition, all employees have laptops, which they are encouraged to take home with them daily. We use a telephony service ‘Voipfone’ which allows us to divert calls to home workers with ease.

Cloud computing – the not-so-secret weapon

Our not-so-secret weapon is cloud technology. In particular, Microsoft Teams, which has now become a staple in our every day business functions, and could soon become a critical way of working for many businesses. Teams offers an easy-to-use platform, with everything from chat, file sharing, video calls and telephony, collaboration between internal and external contacts, all in one place, at Cloud9, it’s our home.

Modern workplaces are increasingly becoming ‘any time, any place’, and therefore the strains of this disruption, to some extent, can be mitigated or lessened. Now our focus turns to our clients will need help with their business continuity planning, enabling easier home or remote working to ensure continuity and stability of their business and the services they provide to customers.

Many of our clients work in manufacturing and hospitality & leisure, and we have seen a nervousness of how the predictability of how their future businesses may be impacted, with the uncertainty of how things will unfold over the coming weeks.

So perhaps you might ride out the coming storm on the beach of a remote desert island, or holed up in your home with the fire on and windows shut. As long as you have a good internet connection, and you’re using the right tools, productivity shouldn’t be impacted, and you can ensure continued output and collaboration from your business.

New Power Platform template for crisis communications

In response to the evolving situation, Microsoft has released a quick and easy-to-implement power platform template for crisis communications. Get the full instructions for how you can implement your own Crisis Communication app here.