How to maintain operational continuity during the COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 isn’t only a health hazard, it’s also a threat to every enterprise’s bottom line. From Apple to Mastercard, many major corporations expect to fall short of financial goals due to disruptions associated with the crisis. While some losses may be inevitable, long-term continuity can become a reality with the proper resources and a well-informed strategy.

Brace for impact: stabilizing your enterprise during uncertain times

There’s no doubt about it, COVID-19 has impacted how we live and work on an international scale. In addition to travel restrictions, school closures, and canceled conferences, global growth rates have taken a serious hit. 

Consequently, this isn’t the time for CIOs to bury their heads in the sand and pray for the best. Instead, leaders need to keep their finger on the pulse, face the realities of COVID-19 head on, and remember what matters most: people.

At the end of the day, consumers and employees each play a defining role in shaping operational continuity. The most effective leaders use every resource at their disposal to level-up experience for these groups.

Use your intranet to give employees the tools they need

As the prevalence of telecommuting soars, the quality and proliferation of digital tools has never been more important. To maintain output levels in the face of the crisis, prioritize the following considerations:

#1. Stay a step ahead of security needs

Remote employees need to efficiently access the same tools and third-party applications they would use during a standard day in the office. Set users up for success by considering what kinds of devices they will be using and the types of networks they will need to access. Digital workplaces with Single-Sign On capabilities provide streamlined access to every tool in an employee’s arsenal.

#2. Don’t resist change, embrace it

With more office closures each day, there’s no doubt about it: COVID-19 is impacting the way we work. Get out ahead of it by assessing what new capabilities you can provide employees to help make operational continuity feasible. Consider changes to bandwidth and network capacity to accommodate an influx of users, including potentially third-party collaborators who may benefit from access to a portal or extranet.

#3. Level up mobile functionality

Mobile functionality matters, particularly when your workforce is dispersed. Universal intranet access for all employees, including your frontline team, ensures that everyone can receive critical updates surrounding policy changes, news, and best practices. Encourage your internal comms team to take advantage of push notifications to disseminate high-priority information efficiently and effectively and make sure these capabilities are in place.

#4. Arm users with training and how-tos

The move from office work to telecommuting can be a major transition. Ease potential uncertainties by providing users with the resources needed to get up to speed quickly. Include training on ground rules surrounding data protection as well as the basics of exchanging information electronically.

employee working from home

Let Customer Experience shine with the right digital capabilities

Unfortunately, maintaining employee experience is only one piece of the puzzle. To ensure continuity, leaders must also look out for their customer’s needs. CIOs can take the following steps to optimize CX:

#1. Use self-service to fill in any gaps

Get ready for a wave of consumer inquiries, including queries about your products and services and potential cancellations. To give your customer service team the support they need, consider turning to self-service functionality. Lay the groundwork for self-service web and email systems and chatbots to handle more common issues, in turn freeing up customer service reps to handle more complex matters.

#2. Add a personal touch virtually

Whether it’s health coaching or college course work, some products or services require a personal touch. Thanks to technological innovations, it is possible to recreate these person to person experiences virtually, through the use of online webinars, video conference calls, and screen-sharing capabilities.

#3. Focus on what matters most

There’s no way around it, consumers' priorities change during times of uncertainty. Some products and services that are typically in high demand have a tendency to fall off of everyone’s radar when an epidemic strikes. Ensure that business processes are agile and lines of communication stay open so that your enterprise can quickly shift priorities and focus on the offerings that are most relevant within the scope of your business.

EX (Employee Experience) and CX (Customer Experience): two sides of the same coin

Ultimately, there is a profound connection between employee happiness and consumer satisfaction. Research from Harvard Business Review found that with each one-star improvement on a company’s Glassdoor rating, enterprises can also expect consumer satisfaction to increase by 1.3 points on a scale of 100.

When workers have access to the tools and resources needed to perform efficiently, they can deliver the best-in-class results that customers are looking for.

Turn to your digital workplace to ensure operational continuity

Comprehensive intranets have the tools and capabilities necessary to drive continuity by supporting employees and in turn nurturing consumer experience. If you’re interested in optimizing your digital workplace, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.

Don't miss our 7 tips to connect remote employees during a crisis with an intranet.

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