The coronavirus will test how ready we are for flexibility of work in practice. How to replace client meetings in person?
The coronavirus is spreading across the world and governments are introducing measures intended to minimise the risk of infection and prevent further spread of the virus. However, these measures naturally affect our daily activities, including our professional lives. Along with quarantine ordered as part of prevention, the impossibility of personal contact with clients or business partners, cancellations of seminars or other events, the topic of flexibility of work and use of technology for team and client communication takes centre stage. So what should we do to make sure that home office works well? How can technology help us communicate with clients? And how to ensure that companies can still perform their activities, albeit in a restricted regime?
There is no doubt that the situation brought about by safety measures is unpleasant and places considerable demands on individuals as well as companies. There is unfortunately no magic button that would help us rid ourselves of everything, switch off and connect again once the epidemic is over. On the other hand, we have at our disposal tools that can help us mitigate the negative impacts (as far as possible). How? Where possible, you can use flexible work tools, meaning work from home. Instead of meetings in person, you can use technology – video calls, conference calls, sharing documents in the cloud. Seminars can turn into webinars.
Alternatives that can currently be used
- Work from home (home office), which is subject to the same conditions as work in the workplace.
- As far as possible, in-person seminars can turn into webinars.
- Chat tools can be used for team communication.
- Client meetings can be organised virtually.
- Work documents can be made available to everyone concerned via the cloud.
At Deloitte, home office is one of the key flexible work tools that is now becoming very useful. Employees who are in quarantine as a precaution because they travelled to high risk areas can therefore continue to communicate with their colleagues, foreign teams and especially with clients, despite the measures in place. Work from home entails the same obligations as if the colleague was directly in the office. It just places greater demands on team leaders in terms of planning. This is directly related to ensuring communication as such. To make sure that work continues without limitation, we need to have reliable communication.
As part of cross-border cooperation and work in international teams, we are accustomed to using technology in everyday communication. Distribution of tasks in the team and monitoring of status and progress is done via applications and in real time – they can be accessed by anyone for whom they are relevant, anywhere and at any time. Communication via video calls and Skype, which we use during work on international engagement, can also be used now. As part of cancelling meetings, limiting contact in public and introducing other preventative measures, this will be a necessity for any company based on advisory services.
What is and will be critical for me and what should I focus on the most today?
- Using technology that allows us to work from home while monitoring the efficiency of work from home, thereby reacting adequately to the current situation.
- Home office set-up from the legal perspective (labour law aspects of work from home in the employment contract, internal policies, record-keeping) and tax perspective (tax treatment of employee costs).
- Given the fact that technologies are now taking the top spot in the pyramid, security becomes a key parameter. We have focused all of our attention on these areas:- Infrastructure risks
– Cyber risks
– Employee risks
– Business risks
– Communication risks
- The spread of the coronavirus throughout the world shows that this will be a long-term issue. This will involve potential restructuring or optimisation of companies. We are currently going through that ourselves.
Thanks to our experience and expertise, we would be happy to help everyone get ready for the challenges and impacts of coronavirus from the operational and financial perspective and to mitigate the negative impacts on their business.
In addition to that, our goal is to offer help to schools to allow them to ensure the uninterrupted education of children and students despite the closure of schools and to use technology to find solutions for transferring teaching from classrooms to the home environment, as well as help them manage the increasing administrative demands related to the newly emerging labour law matters.
Ten rules for home office
- If possible, set aside a corner at home that you will use only for work. Think about what is around you if you are participating in a video call with a client.
- Set up a regular daily routine, copying your normal daily work regime.
- Limit meetings in person only to absolutely indispensable cases. Opt instead for a phone or video call.
- Communicate regularly with your clients, be open and understanding.
- Call instead of emailing, the information will be transferred faster and you will get feedback directly.
- Be available. If you are not in quarantine or caring for a family member, you are subject to the same rules as if you were in the office.
- When holding virtual calls, always be sure of who you are inviting and what information you are sharing at any given moment.
- Communicate with other team members about how your engagement work is progressing. Keep each other informe.
- Plan in advance, try to maintain your set regime and rules. Set regular information meetings with your superior on a daily basis.
- Share documents on cloud storage so everyone who works with them can access them. Provide access to everyone so that there is no delay because key data is not available.
It is clear that the current situation is unpleasant and we can hardly predict how it will develop or how long it will last. The important thing is not to underestimate the situation while remaining calm, complying with the preventative measures and respecting orders. Because what matters in this case is not the business, but every one of us.
How to effectively face COVID-19? Reduce the impact on your business
Our special website contains an overview of key steps that need to be taken in order to mitigate impacts of the pandemic on the operation of your organisation. It also contains individual advisory with contact details of our professionals who will help you react to specific measures in accordance with the needs of your business. We update the website regularly and add more information.
Up-to date information on dreport.cz
We record additional up-to-date information on our blog in a section dedicated to the coronavirus.