I am proud to say that the team at Valiant has been working hard to prepare ourselves and our clients for what is shaping up to be an unprecedented event. There has not been a widespread pandemic of this scale in over a century.
In this uncertain time, we can only affect what we can control. We’re fortunate to have technology and solutions that enable us to remain open for business, even if we need to work remotely. Many businesses have been planning for this type of event and while planning is a great start, an untested plan will undoubtedly lead to a loss of productivity, staff frustration, and management confusion. We are recommending that all of our clients perform a live test of their remote work plan via a phased approach before any large-scale travel bans or school closures occur.
If you haven’t performed a test of your remote work plan before, here are some tips to get you started – and a checklist we created that you can use as a starting point. Everyone’s test will differ, based on how their plan is set up but you can consider these best practices as a solid foundation for conducting a test:
Carefully review your existing plan to ensure that it is current and ready for use.
Identify groups of staff to work remotely. Each group should contain members of multiple departments with each area of the company being represented by at least one staff member.
Notify your staff that a remote work plan test will be taking place, which group they belong to, when the test will happen, and clearly define what management is expecting from each staff member involved.
Perform your test with each group – we recommend creating a minimum of 3.
Create a survey (both Microsoft Forms and Google Surveys are great choices) to receive feedback from your staff. Here’s a shortlist of questions to get started:
- Ease of use: are the messaging, video conferencing, and communications applications working as expected? Were you able to access files that you need to perform your duties? Did you run into any security-related issues while accessing resources?
- Getting support: Did you experience any difficulties while receiving remote support?
- Device usage: Did you use personal or company-owned equipment during the test?
- Overall experience: What was it like communicating with your coworkers, clients, and vendors remotely?
- Any additional feedback to improve the system before it needs to go live
We’ve made a remote work test plan feedback form available for Office 365 users. Simply click here to open the form and save a copy for your business.
Depending on the size of the company, testing may take several days. While it may seem like an inconvenience, it’s necessary and will provide data on areas that need immediate improvement. Provide your IT, HR, and Operations teams with the information they’ll need to make the required adjustments, improvements, and build a solution your business and employees can rely on.
The other benefit of performing a test like this is that it provides your management team with an opportunity to measure staff productivity. Even companies with defined remote work plans don’t always have the processes or tools in place to understand if staff members are accomplishing goals and working efficiently during a scenario like we’re currently working through or even a normal workday.
Performing a test of your remote work plan will involve trial and error, adjustments, and patience as both staff and management adjust to 100% remote work, but the benefits will greatly outweigh the drawbacks.