The Workplace After COVID-19: What Is Your New Normal?

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Ridofranz

Readiness is not just an idea, it is an approach that makes businesses more responsive and agile, even in the face of unforeseen events.

Hong Kong, in particular, sees a high number of social engineering attempts. This is the act of deception, manipulation, or intimidation of a person to gain access to information assets. It was once carried out face-to-face. These attacks ranged from generic phishing attempts to “spear-phishing” (when an attacker researches the target beforehand to improve their chances of success) and “whaling” (attacks targeted at executives or senior management to steal sensitive company information).

There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the impact of the COVID-19, which makes planning all the more important. Continuity planning can help organizations determine in advance the steps that may be needed to address the well-being of employees and maintain uninterrupted service to customers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a website dedicated to providing guidance for businesses and employers to help them plan their response.  As the CDC guidance notes, all employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce while ensuring continuity of operations.  The CDC’s guidance also states that working from home may be an important part of a business continuity plan, whether because of employee illness, school closures, or other developments.

Many organizations already provide remote flexibility to their workforce.  What if you need to increase the flexibility throughout your organization quickly?

Many businesses provide service to customers in person or on-site.  Few have the flexibility to provide the same level of service through a mobile solution.

Verizon teams are committed to providing you the best service possible to give you the technology and infrastructure needed to support your business continuity strategy when you need it. Here are five strategies you can implement today.

1. Prepare your network for a large scale remote workforce

Work-From-Anywhere solutions are a practical way for many organizations to maintain operations in any environment.

A business will need to ensure that they have in place the right network infrastructure to support a remote workforce.  A spike in remote employees may result in a spike in traffic, straining overall network resources.

Things to consider:

  • Upgrade network capabilities and enable wireless connectivity with commercial grade network connections
  • Provide employees with mobile devices and hotspots for remote connection

2. Implement technology that enables remote collaboration

Collaboration is not new, but creating a collaborative platform that serves remote workers is not without difficulties. Employees may or may not be used to remote working. They may not have a dedicated work space, the right network, the right technology, and the right living conditions for this new requirement. An isolated working environment can have a negative effect on employee collaboration, problem solving, and well-being.

Establishing a platform for remote collaboration requires the right software and tools to enable a Work-From-Anywhere environment.

Things to consider:

  • Implement collaboration tools and resources
  • Communicate collaboration best practices in a more meaningful way
  • Help employees who may be new to collaboration make a successful transition

3. Prioritize and develop a critical infrastructure plan

Your workforce may be vital to your community and your business; such as supporting government agencies, caring for sick patients, protecting the community or maintaining utilities.

Identifying these vital individuals, working with management, and outfitting them with the right tools are three ways you can keep your workforce productive.

Things to consider:

  • Prioritize mission-critical roles and build a plan with leadership to ensure continuation of services
  • Work with individuals to discuss risks and how to keep the operation functioning
  • Evaluate ways to virtualize support and utilize virtual or tele services

4. Use tools to give customers confidence and access

Connecting with customers is always a top priority. Technology can be an important part of the solution. Unified communication and collaboration solutions enable you to share your calls across your mobile and desk phones.   Unified communications can also help you connect customers to the right person, so that calls do not go unattended. Video calls also give your customers confidence that they can connect with you directly.

Things to consider:

  • Implement unified communication solutions that connect you to your customers
  • Set up call routing priorities and forwarding so calls always go to the right employee on duty
  • Let your customers know you are available and the best way to contact you

5. Secure both physical and network access points

A remote workforce requires the right tools to secure your data and network. Working together, we can evaluate and assess whether you have the right security parameters in place to protect your organization.

Things to consider:

  • Create a disaster recovery plan with necessary contingencies
  • Establish a secure cloud storage for your most critical data

John Hines, head of cybersecurity at Verizon Business Group, Asia-Pacific, wrote this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends. Photo credit: iStockphoto/Ridofranz