Remote work and fallback plans: Why flexibility is key to working from home
Many companies are sending employees home to work remotely, highlighting the need for contingency plans for communications and business continuity.
As millions of employees in the global workforce start to work remotely — many for the first time — teams are relying more heavily on video conference and virtual meeting software. And while there are dozens of options to choose from, technology can be unpredictable — and with the increased number of users on these platforms, we can anticipate that there will be periods of poor connectivity or limited services.
Having video conferencing software in place is only one step towards connecting remotely, and frankly, it isn’t always 100% reliable. With so many more organizations and individuals logging into these services, you need a fallback plan — or two — to keep things moving forward.
The waterfall approach to remote communications
Let’s set the scene: you, your three colleagues and your manager are scheduled for a daily morning call in place of the daily in-person rundown. One minute before the meeting is set to start, you log in — but your video conferencing platform isn’t cooperating. The seconds tick by while you stare at your screen, willing it to let you join the meeting. What do you do?
As a fully remote company, our organization uses several communication platforms. If our video conferencing software goes down, a team member will ping the rest to notify us that the system is down — and we move the related conversation or workflow to our first fallback solution: collaboration platform (Hint: It’s Slack).
If our chat solution doesn’t work, we switch to email to continue working. This entire process can take place in less than two minutes because we have contingency plans in place to support us when technology doesn’t cooperate.
Flexible contingency plans
When working remotely it is important to maintain a flexible mindset. Martech solutions and platforms are critical to the workforce during these eerie times — but having contingency plans in place will help your team adjust to working remotely and eliminate the anxiety of platforms crashing or being unable to connect. These plans will help shape the flexible mindset by providing the solution to problems your team might not be familiar with.
“It’s more important than ever that companies that have the ability to adopt remote systems without suffering operationally, ” says Daniel Rivas, digital marketing consultant and founder of Digital Media Ninja. “Current events have highlighted the need for companies who have not considered or planned for remote workers to get their contingency plans together and eliminate the risk to their employees of no income.”
The bottom line here is that employers need to allow employees to adjust and adapt to working remotely, and easing the transition with documented processes for critical communication channels could help quell a bit of the anxiety we’re experiencing.
If none of this makes you feel better — ask your coworkers to invite their dogs to your video meetings. That should help.