How to streamline tech during the coronavirus: Dos and don’t's

With the emergence of the coronavirus crisis, businesses of all sizes are figuring out how to operate in a work-from-home environment. The ramifications of this sweeping change are numerous, from putting a strain on internet connections in general to making virtual happy hours a national pastime overnight. Some people have even speculated that the response to COVID-19 will lead to people questioning the value of office space over the long term.

One thing we’re all dealing with right now, though, is the adoption of new technology solutions that enable teams to do their jobs from home. It’s all too easy to adopt an as-many-answers-as-possible approach to answering your remote work needs, but inundating team members with constant changes and updates can do more harm than good. Instead, you should seek a streamlined, efficient technological solution in order to achieve the best results.

It’s entirely possible that you’ve needed to sign up for and implement some new tech quickly in order to produce quick fixes and keep yourself in business. That’s not ideal, but we’re not dealing with an ideal scenario right now. You don’t have time to go through the optimal shopping and testing processes, but that doesn’t mean you should move ahead without any strategy whatsoever, but there are some dos and don'ts that can go a long way in determining whether your adaptation to these novel circumstances is a success. Nobody’s dealt with a situation like this, so the faster you can become comfortable in our new reality, the more likely you’ll be to emerge from it in fighting shape.

DO: Find solutions that make remote a possibility
For decades, companies touted cloud-based software as the future. Their pitch was always the same: The cloud allows you to work from anywhere at any time. At first, this service was marketed as a convenience. Today, it’s a necessity. Any software that isn’t cloud-based isn’t doing you much good right now. If you have software that’s tethered to machines and people who need to use that software for their jobs, you’re going to need to act quickly to migrate things ofter to a platform that everyone can use.

While the cloud-based nature of any solution is essential, the types of solutions you need will be unique to your business. Some people can complete their work in relative isolation, maybe only needing to send an email at the start and beginning of the day. Others, though, may need video conferencing software, time-tracking tools, project management platforms, and more. At first, your goal needs to be finding these solutions and making them actionable as quickly as possible.
DON’T: Create confusion with too many options
Nobody wants to have to check whether their meeting is hosted on Zoom or BlueJeans, or whether they’re supposed to chat on Google Hangouts or Slack. Sure, there are plenty of software options for your needs and it’s tempting to shop around, but you need to move forward with a clear plan. Having multiple tools for the same purpose will only sow confusion and uncertainty. Rather than seeking as many viable answers as possible, you need to quickly decide on the right answer for your team and move forward without hesitation. Making people learn one new option is difficult enough; making them learn two for the same purpose is downright counterproductive.
DO: Explain and educate
Once you’ve decided on new technology, you need to set up procedures in order to ensure as smooth an implementation as possible. Now, you probably don’t have the time and resources to offer extensive, ongoing training. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to let employees go it alone. Instead, get on the software and understand the basics before providing a basic framework for how to use the tools easily and effectively. It goes without saying that not all of your team members are equally technology-savvy. You need to ensure that even the least adept among your team isn’t overwhelmed.

At the very least, every team member should understand how to create an account, log in, and perform baseline operations. Sure, you’re going to experience drop-outs and technical difficulties — everyone is dealing with it right now. There are also issues like “Zoombombing” and other new phenomena to deal with. Nobody is going to have a perfectly smooth roll out, but you should leave as little as possible to chance.
DON’T: Rest on your laurels
Just because you’re operational doesn’t mean you’ve perfected operating in our new reality. The best route forward for your business, like the nature of stay-at-home orders, can change at a moment’s notice. If and when things settle down and you have a second to rest, take the moments you need to plan for the long term. Ensure you are aligned with your business purpose and values and where you want to grow in the future now that you have learned from this experience.