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How To Prepare For Remote Emergencies And Tips To Prevent Them

Sonal Shahid

Dec 2, 2020

Introduction

Almost every working professional has now experienced some form of remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But working styles and habits that were in place for decades are not easy to change. It’s more straightforward at the individual level, but what about the organization as a whole? Like in an office setting, the organization must clearly define the 'next steps' and 'what-to-do's in case of remote emergencies.

But precisely what remote emergencies are we talking about, and how can we prevent them? Read till the end to find out.

Have an employee database in place

In a remote setting, maintaining an employee database is crucial. Slightly similar to the HR records, this database must include an employee’s alternate contact information, coworkers who work in that vicinity, IT repair centers close by, and the like.

You cannot predict all remote emergencies. Therefore, it is best practice to keep all possible problems and their solutions while making this database. The same must be accessible by the management and HR teams. Share a shorter version with basic information intra-team as well. This saves time on trivial issues that the Team Lead can handle without the management's interference.

Define proper communication channels

A manager has too much on their plate to handle every team member's concern, especially in a remote scenario. It gets challenging to keep track of what the team requires or demands while simultaneously achieving one’s targets. Thus, at an organizational level, A manager must define proper channels.

Like a telephone directory, a playbook with a whom-to-reach-out-for-what approach will help employees navigate their way through a problem. It will objectively convey the protocol to be followed. For instance, whom to contact for technical issues, whom to reach out for filing for longer leaves, etc. The manager must hand this to every employee at the time of onboarding. It will establish a chain of commands and keep the various distributed teams aligned. Thus, a particular person becomes responsible for handling the same issues instead of racking his mind in every direction.

A web of orders

Onboarding and off-boarding processes are simpler in an office setting. Many organizations provide devices like phones and laptops to their employees. A remote environment calls for well-organized transportation channels to collect and deliver such devices.

Another thing to keep in mind is having more than one individual for a particular function. To prevent remote emergencies, have a backup. So tomorrow, if an employee is unable to attend to something or has to go on immediate leave, somebody else can smoothly fill in. If your team is not big, an alternative would be doing work ahead of time and having their Plan-Bs in place.

Keep your finance sorted

The hard reality is that people hustle to earn. Nothing can cause a more elaborate series of problems than a financial crunch. Remember that the way to an employee's happy heart is through their bank accounts. Make sure that all full-time, part-time, and gig employees are timely paid. In case of a delay, roll out a mass notice. You may additionally take a poll on who needs their salary at urgent and prioritize payments that way.

Define communication pathways for finance-related queries. Keep in mind the time zone difference. Allocate finance managers based on locations such that 24*7 open channels are available.

To manage all this hassle-free for your distributed team, you may team up with local and global Employer of Record (EOR) partners. The downside of local EORs would be researching and finding the best facilities that align with your budget for every country your employees live in. In comparison, a global EOR like Skuad takes away this hassle from your shoulders. It handles everything from deploying to managing your team. This way, you get more time to make money than spend it.

Organization and tools

Unorganized systems give rise to miscommunication and confusion. While you must be following a system of daily scrum calls, minutes of the meeting, etc., it is not enough. An organization needs the right set of collaborative tools and for employees to use them effectively.

Something as simple as a video call subscription so that your important meeting is not time-restricted to the high-level whiteboarding and mind mapping tools. For everyone to be on the same page or back to each other's functions, everyone must keep all files and data at a location that is easily accessible by all.

Pro tip: To keep track of where to find what kind of data, build a master sheet or reference document.

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