How to prepare IT for a potential second wave of COVID-19?

Neetika Rana
Categories: Increase Productivity Unify your Communications
Tags: Microsoft Teams remote working

Act now to solve future problems

As summer draws to a close and authorities turn their attention to our winter healthcare needs, there have been cautious warnings worldwide of a potential second COVID-19 wave, though experts say the UAE will be well prepared in social and healthcare terms to cope.

The business community though, which was largely taken by surprise by the original outbreak, may not be as well prepared and needs to ensure that it has not left its IT departments in isolation.

Preparation now will leave businesses fit for any future need to implement work from home (WFH) or remote working giving them secure business continuity and the ability to continue to successfully serve their client base.

Here are a few tips on securing your business against any second wave requirements:

Create a future proof IT infrastructure

Get your IT department to forecast requirements for any future WFH or remote working needs. They need to be fully aware of the risks of disruption to operational continuity on corporate reputation and client servicing. Unsuccessful client servicing could lead to the loss of vital customer bases.

IT needs to prepare contingency plans addressing any future cloud technology deployment and training needs and workflow amendments. IT cannot work on this in isolation and needs commitment and collaboration of senior management to draft the contingency approach.

Make sure the right resources are in place

Planning is essential but so too is the availability of the hardware and software resources that employees will require if they suddenly have to work remotely or WFH. Trying to secure resources when the circumstances hit, could be flying too close to the wind and lead to workforce disillusionment. Get employees equipped now so they can immediately be up and running should the situational environment require.

It's also essential to ensure that employee systems are tooled up with the correct upgrades so there’s no chaos ensuing from endeavoring to complete upgrades while remote working is in place. Huge levels of potential employee dissatisfaction and frustration can be avoided by upgrade checks now.

Check your scalability

Connectivity will be the lifeblood to ensuring the success of your remote working strategy so check you have sufficient secure capacity in place for all your workforce needs. Cloud-based remote access solutions will facilitate rapid upscaling.

Learn from your initial remote working experience

There are bound to be lessons to be learned from any initial remote working protocol put in place – make sure they continue to be front-of-mind, that follow-through recommendations are enacted and that your business continuity plan reflects them.

Take a longer-term approach

Apart from being prepared to deal with remote working needs emanating from any potential second COVID wave, the business should start looking now at future remote working needs. The remote working era is here to stay and the recent moves taken by accounting powerhouse PricewaterhouseCoopers and fund manager Schroders to allow the majority of their staff to continue to work from home after the Covid-19 pandemic, underlines a major shift in our long-held office-based cultures. The benefits are numerous – smaller office space required, happier staff now able to avoid rush hour commutes and fewer carbon emissions are among them.

The blended workplace is a transitional option – where staff works part of the week in the office, the remainder at home or from a remote location. Schroders’ Human Resources chief Emma Holden says its move is “rethinking the rulebook on flexibility” and contends that it will “ultimately prove a huge shot in the arm for productivity in the long term.” You could track their progress with interest.

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