The unprecedented global health crisis has a growing number of businesses taking drastic measures to help ensure the health and safety of their employees. Large-scale work-from-home (WFH) policies are now commonplace with hopes of social distancing to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Addressing the risk to people, families and communities is paramount, and it’s also worth noting there is significant risk to the health of businesses themselves. A prolonged interruption in operations could be significant to many organizations. Even with a workforce that’s suddenly more decentralized, in many cases businesses must attempt to continue to operate as predictably as possible, even amidst the unpredictability of the current environment.  

Many businesses today are familiar with the latest technologies enabling employees to work from nearly anywhere and from any device. But for some, it might be challenging to maintain not just productivity, but also collaboration and even culture during a prolonged pause to normal office life as we know it - even with all the tools readily available.

As more organizations institute work-from-home policies, it’s important to emphasize to employees that these tools provide the capabilities to enhance the virtual work experience. Below are five tools and tips your business is already likely using to help ease the shock of working and collaborating from anywhere.

Addressing Security Risks: Possibly the most significant risk related to the work-from-home policies is the effect it could have on cybersecurity. Enable secure access for employees to corporate networks, applications and servers through a VPN. It’s also important to remind employees about your organization’s cybersecurity policies. It’s easier to become complacent at home, and virus-related scams have already been making the rounds.

Putting Faces to Names: It’s easy to become detached if colleagues slowly become words in an email or a voice on the other end of the phone. Enable your workforce with collaboration tools with built-in video conferencing capabilities and encourage them to connect with each other "face-to-face."

Reaching You No Matter the Number: How easy is it for customers or others outside your organization to reach you by phone? If teams are out of the office for an extended period of time, calls can get lost in the shuffle quickly. Many enterprise phone services offer simple call forwarding or even the ability to unify phone numbers to a designated device.

Setting Up Living Chat Rooms: Much of what’s most enjoyable about office life is defined by the informal and unplanned interactions where employees can bounce ideas off one another and build camaraderie with colleagues. By creating a space specifically for impromptu discussions, it will help working groups stay more engaged with tasks and collaborate with each other.

Communication Is KEY: We can’t lose sight of our connection to each other. The focus on simply communicating one-on-one and across workgroups while building relationships is a must! Without the ability to meet and spend time in person, it’s time to be creative. We’ve got to make that extra effort to consciously reach out and collaborate, harnessing the power of the abundant technology and solutions that are available to us. Success depends on creating and sustaining an open dialogue as well as keeping the virtual door always open. Each and all of us have to work with greater purpose to develop and sustain our connections with people – whether it be our colleagues, customers, partners, suppliers, and all stakeholders - to ensure ongoing alignment and constructive progress. Feedback will be even more critical during these times – so keep it coming!

For more information and resources to help keep your business running during the unpredictable, please visit AT&T Business Continuity here.

Stay well and stay connected!

Anne Chow,

CEO – AT&T Business