How To Add Remote Working To Your Business Continuity Plan
A business continuity plan (BCP) is vital to the longevity of any organisation, especially if operations are expected to carry on even in times of trouble.
As with the case of COVID-19 causing Singapore’s DORSCON level to be raised to Orange recently, disruptions to school and work are inevitable.
Employers and business owners who are concerned with halting operations must draw up a clear blueprint for how their BCPs (also known as Business Continuity Planning) will be carried out; from the chosen measures to implement at one’s workplace to the duration of their BCP.
This is important to ensure that your business goes on and financial losses will not be sustained as a result of stopping operations.
But what exactly is a Business Continuity Plan?
In a nutshell, it is a plan to keep a business running through alternate modes of operation when employees are unable to be physically present in the office, but are still required to carry out their roles or continue working with clients.
Employees may have to adhere to the following measures:
- Work split: Half the team works at a remote location or from home, while the other half reports to the office. This works on a rotational basis.
- Full remote work: The organisation’s employees will be allowed to work from home in order to avoid commuting and risking themselves to exposure to a widespread virus like COVID-19.
- Cross-training employees to cover for each other
- Temporarily changing working hours and creating more flexible working arrangements
The Importance of Remote Working
As you can probably tell, remote work is perhaps one of the most vital part of a successful BCP, no matter which industry one is in.
Take for instance the COVID-19 situation – most Singaporeans are now afraid of being exposed to the virus on public transport or in crowded areas, and most people congregate at their workplaces or mass events.
With great numbers, an increased risk of infection is unavoidable.
To combat this and protect employees from infection and paranoia while also ensuring the business continues to operate as per normal, a BCP with remote working capabilities is absolutely necessary.
Remote work in a BCP also provides more flexibility for an organisation to keep their operations running, regardless of employee location, and keeps a company efficiently running.
After all, in order to efficiently continue business operations, the most effective way to save time and effort would be to allow remote workers to work from anywhere they feel is most convenient, whether it’s working from home in their living room or in a nearby cafe.
Disruption to the normal rhythm of work and life may sometimes be unavoidable in unforeseen circumstances, whether it’s a global epidemic or a natural disaster that makes commuting unfavourable.
Remote working helps to reduce the effects of this disruption by making it easier for employees to clock into work without having to readjust greatly to a new location or work rhythm.
So the question remains: how can business owners effectively implement and introduce remote working to their companies?
How to Introduce a Remote Working Culture
Working from home is not to be mistaken as a “free holiday” where employees can simply lounge at home and avoid their normal responsibilities for the duration of your BCP.
In fact, remote workers are expected to have the same level of efficiency as onsite workers, if not even more.
After all, remote working reportedly works wonders for employee productivity – provided the measure is introduced efficiently, and workers are well-prepared for it.
Here are the steps business owners can take to introduce remote working to their employees:
Preparing Needed Software
Ensure that all employees have everything they need at home to carry out their work smoothly and without difficulty.
For example, designers are required to ensure they have the necessary Adobe applications on their home desktops.
Salespeople will require having SalesForce or any other customer management software at the ready before they are fully-equipped to work from home.
Create a list of needed applications and software – including video call software so managers and leaders can stay in touch and hold meetings as needed – and ensure your employees are familiar with them, and have them well-prepared, before implementing remote working.
Another key software for remote workers is Slack, a virtual office space that allows everyone to stay connected and in touch at all times, with call and video call functions available to freely use from.
Essentials: Passwords and Call Forwarding
For employees who liaise with clients or vendors via phone call, ensure that phone calls to their office landlines will be redirected and forwarded to their home lines, or handphone numbers, to ensure that calls from essential personnel are not lost in the fray.
Ensure that your employees recollect their passwords as well, since most will have too many to memorise and remember by heart. This will prevent them from being logged out of essential software to carry out their work.
Productivity Tracking Measures
In order to keep the organisation and its employees accountable to one another, business owners have to implement measures that can help them track worker productivity as closely as possible.
This will have to be tested and refined to suit the organisation’s needs and tastes. Using productivity tracking software may be a viable method to closely track when an employee gets on and off work.
Using productivity boards such as Trello or Asana for employees to log their progress and track their achievements or milestones may be another method to consider.
Whichever route you go, it’s important to remember that tracking productivity may not take off smoothly in the very beginning.
Cloud Storage and Collaboration Tools
Remote working means that everything has to be stored virtually, since employees no longer have access to local machines and storage options.
Business owners should consider investing in cloud collaboration tools with cloud storage options if they haven’t already, such as Dropbox Smart Workspace.
This ensures that teams are able to continue collaborating hassle-free and upkeep productivity levels week in, week out.
This last measure is vital to ensuring documents and crucial information can be shared and disseminated easily and conveniently from the top down.
Business owners who wish to implement successful remote working BCPs ought to consider investing in these options.
With these tools and measures, remote working can be easily introduced and implemented into any organisation’s business continuity plan.
And whether one is faced with a widespread virus or unfavourable weather conditions that make it impossible for commuters to get to and from work safely, working from home means less time spent commuting, and more energy and time directed towards work tasks, ensuring that a business’ operations can continue to run smoothly, even in times of trouble.