The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc worldwide and has left industries scrambling. A sudden collapse in the business operations has compelled business owners to formulate business continuity plans and prepare for any unexpected disruptions in business. As the coronavirus continues to spread at an accelerated rate, businesses are taking proactive decisions to safeguard their employees. Most companies are exploring new technologies, revisiting policies, rescheduling conferences and restricting business travel. Companies are adhering to nationwide lockdowns and encouraging employees to work from home.
In a catastrophic situation like this, business owners who can enable remote/ virtual work to thrive will have an upper hand. With the proliferation of technology, virtual collaboration has significantly become more common but many still think of it as a “second-best” option. It’s a fact that face-to-face conversations are the most impactful ones as there is better understanding and clarity but, the pandemic has forced us to challenge that belief. The below techniques can facilitate digital collaboration in the times of coronavirus:
Engaging through Digital Channels
To interact with both customers and employees, companies are indulging in workplace collaboration, conference video calls and live streams. As many events and conferences had to be cancelled due to the outbreak, organizations are now resorting to conducting virtual conferences. Twitter recently held its first virtual Twitter all-hands via Google Hangouts Meet and Slack, as stated by Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey. Even Google took the decision of conducting its largest annual conference – “Cloud Next’20” online.
Exploring reliable Digital Collaboration Tools
According to senior research director at Gartner – Sandy Shen, in times of crisis when an outbreak has a tremendous impact on the traditional operations and channels, there is an increased emphasis on the value of digital channels. The pandemic has provided not-so-digital-organizations with a wake-up call to realize the value of the digital collaboration tools and embrace them in order to have long-term resilience.
Effective communication with your team is the key
Strategies to provide actionable guidance to the employees must be incorporated by the companies. A message which is conveyed early and repeatedly provides clarity and reassurance to the team which is essential for building a modern collaborative workplace. Organizations can run employee engagement campaigns to boost the morale of the employees and help alienate anxiety.
Digital collaboration is smooth with effective leadership
Indeed, by incorporating digital collaborative tools and practices, business leaders can become resilient and be prepared to face further downturns in business. Pandemic situation of COVID-19 will test the leaders’ mettle as the day-to-day challenges of managing the organization and teams have become increasingly complex. Even at the time when world will retreat and start embracing a “new normal” soon, the need for effective leadership through the digital collaboration channels will remain. Companies can leverage digitization strategy which can help them take accurate decisions to maintain their competitive edge in the market. Research and analytics companies can help organizations overcome the inherent challenges of digitization.
Obviously, not every business can operate virtually, specially the manufacturing companies and frontline workers. In some cases where working virtually is not an option, increased attention must be paid by the organization to ensure the safety of the employees. Making the switch to virtual collaboration tools is essential during a crisis like this. In order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and eventually flatten the curve, utilization of digital collaboration tools and practicing social distancing is our best bet.
Dr. Sidhartha Dutta