How Are Businesses Responding To COVID-19?
In the face of the increasingly clear reality that day-to-day business has been disrupted in ways unseen in the modern workforce, business leaders are working to position themselves for the rapid changes ahead. In this blog, Noah MacMichael discusses the impact of business as usual and steps organizations can take to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
COVID-19 and the Impact on Business as Usual
As the impacts of COVID-19 become more of a reality across the globe, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the ways in which we've lived, worked, and collaborated over the past decade will be disrupted both now and likely even longer-term. Entire industries are changing to adapt to the current impacts, as well as position themselves to recover quickly in the aftermath of the virus.
As business leaders, it is critical we act quickly in the face of this crisis to protect our workforce from health and economic hardships brought on by COVID-19 and to mitigate lasting negative impacts for both organizations and employees.
By far, the most common objective I’ve heard when talking with our globally distributed customer base (Directors, Product Owners, etc.) is the desire to “continue BAU operations” as best as possible in the short term. Below are the major aspects of the business that are most susceptible to being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:
What Steps Should I Take Now?
To be effective in maintaining or regaining a sense of “BAU”, it’s critical for business leaders to not only understand what part of their business is most susceptible to negative impact, but also take proactive action to prepare for, and mitigate against, those impacts. Business owners should take immediate steps to:
Assess and test the internal level of readiness to manage a crisis
As the saying goes, “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Teams should seek to understand and benchmark the severity of bottlenecks across all facets of BAU operations. These processes can range from supply chain workflows to application infrastructure and are some of the biggest reasons for gaps to business continuity. Once teams have these watch-points outlined, it’s time to rapidly put mitigation measures in place.
Assess delivery capability aligned to remote-working scenarios
One of the biggest risks for teams of all types is a nose-dive in delivery capability. Whether you’re a product team, a professional services group, or a retailer, you must be ready to “weather the elements”. For most of us impacted by COVID-19, this comes down to ensuring teams, tools, and processes are in place to scale to meet variable customer demand. Leaders need to take proactive stock of their leading indicators (team velocity, web traffic, delivery team capacity, vendor relationships) and keep close watch to protect any downturn that would foretell negative business impact.
Adjust business processes to align to remote working scenarios
Much like any other crisis response - it’s critical that teams cut down on excess noise and wasted motion to stay focused. Leaders should seek to actively protect their workforce by moving to remote-work where possible and ramp up communications to stay “high-touch” with employees. Most importantly - while it’s critical leaders enforce outline and enforce processes to guide their teams in unfamiliar working scenarios, many processes likely need to be streamlined to make the most out of asynchronous interactions and increasingly distracted teams. Don’t be afraid to take things “back to basics”.
Communicate Internal Awareness and Change Plans
By far one of the most impactful leaders can do during this time is lean on empowered and distributed teams to continue executing on business priorities. For many, this may mean extending the leadership circle and identifying team members that can help smooth the transition to “the new normal”. As leaders - seek to align teams to new norms and processes by empowering others to drive understanding and adoption within the organization.
Create contingency plans for an economic downturn and recovery as a business
Once the above tactical factors are addressed and your business is in a “steady state”, it’s time to think longer-term. Is your strategy still the same? What milestones does this event impact (positively or negatively)? Working with your leadership team, outline the medium and longer-term scenarios for how you’ll manage and recover as quickly and effectively as possible.
How Can Cloudreach Help?
The COVID-19 pandemic is a health and humanitarian crisis that will have far-ranging and profound impacts on our families, our businesses, and the ways in which we've lived, worked, and collaborated over the past decade. Not since the economic collapse of the 20th century have we seen such an unprecedented disruption to the global economy and "business as usual".
At Cloudreach, we understand that a key priority for many businesses right now is to act quickly, to mitigate risk and commercial impact and, most importantly, protect the health of your workforce.
In response to the current and potentially long-running challenges you are facing, Cloudreach is introducing a series of accelerators and business continuity services that will help organizations scale and dynamically respond to your changing environment.