A new virus pandemic is not something most of us regularly think about preparing for. With COVID-19, few businesses or people were ready to face such a problem.
Knowledge is the cure for panic, so the more you know about the coronavirus and pandemics in general, the more adeptly you and your business will adapt to changing circumstances, new government requirements, and evolving advice from health organizations.
What is COVID-19, and why is it so dangerous?
Let’s start with the basics.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease marked by acute respiratory syndrome — coronavirus 2. The common effects are fever, cough, shortness of breath, sometimes muscle pain and sore throat. Evidence collected so far suggests that some 3.4% of all patients may die from COVID-19, but the likelihood varies depending on age. Elderly people die much more often than people aged 20–40.
A dangerous factor with coronavirus is that in a large number of cases it may cause no or only mild symptoms. If you are a young person who returned from a trip to China, Italy, or any other country highly affected by coronavirus spread, you may have not even noticed that you were sick.
But all this time you were spreading the virus, and not all people you contacted were lucky to have no symptoms like you.
What does WHO and your country’s health ministry want from you?
The World Health Organization recognized the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. This was a signal to the world to take the virus seriously and help local healthcare organizations cope with a rising tide of cases. Healthcare workers in many jurisdictions are overworked and exhausted, while hospitals are full and pressure on local healthcare systems is huge.
But you can help. As a business owner or simply as an individual, you can ease this pressure by following some simple rules:
- Wash your hands properly and often. Take the time to wash every finger and both sides of your hands.
- Always carry an antiseptic gel. Use it if you have to stay in public places for a long time.
- Don’t touch your face with your hands.
- Keep a distance from other people, at least 2 meters.
- Choose social self-isolation if you can. Stay home, avoid public places.
- Promote all these rules at your office.
- The most important is to promote or even organize remote work.
The last point is especially important now. Offices are places where many people meet, and it’s impossible to govern where they go. While visiting other places or unknowingly meeting contagious people, your workmates may bring the virus to work with them.
Choosing remote work is good for everyone: you keep yourself safe; in self-isolation, you don’t spread the virus to others; and you help ease the pressure on the healthcare system.
How do you organize remote work and keep the business up and running?
It’s so easy to organize remote work in 2020 that lots of businesses were choosing this approach even before the need to quarantine. Former office workers often say they concentrate better at home than at the office.
To organize remote work, you’ll need to master some tools, most of which are easy to employ and cause no stress to yourself or your employees.
These are solutions that allow for easy access to your office computer from any other device.
Free for personal use, available for Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android. An extremely popular and trusted application with easy setup.
Also free for personal use, but there is a small charge on the iOS version. A good alternative to TeamViewer.
Essential apps for you, your employees, and your customers to communicate during the isolation period.
The most used communication app all over the world. Send files, write messages, do voice and video calls, organize multi-user conferences — all in one place.
An essential tool for developer teams and their customers. Slack spares email inboxes, integrates with Google Docs and has a robust API that allows developers to tailor Slack to specific needs.
A perfect app for video chats, but you will need to pay if you want to conduct long-lasting meetings or invite more than a certain number of people.
Tools for those who need to keep their finger on the pulse of everything done inside the company.
A number-one choice of software development companies. Set tasks and responsibilities for staff, track time spent, change task statuses and much more.
A simple yet powerful task management board. Create boards for various projects, add tasks, set deadlines, add a description and related files.
Essential apps for those who are easily distracted by kids, animals, or other people at home.
A great time-tracking app for setting tasks and tracking how much time they take to complete. Works with a calendar interface and tracks earnings for those with hourly payment.
This is more of a task manager app, but it’s extremely helpful for estimating how much time you need today. Simple interface, easy to create tasks, easy to grasp what needs to be done.
Development and design
An ultimate tool for developers for online code hosting and sharing. Even non-tech specialists and companies choose GitHub for hosting corporate wikis.
InVision helps designers collaborate — here they can build prototypes, share them with the team, and leave contextual comments for better feedback.
Also a popular choice among designers for building prototypes and collaborating on them. Figma has comments and sharing options, too.
Cloud and document collaboration
An easy-to-start cooperating tool when you need to share files and documents among the team.
Both the cloud storage for your files and a document collaboration tool — create shared documents, spreadsheets, and presentations to edit them together and get timely feedback via contextual comments.
When all the necessary tools are installed and set up properly, you are nearly ready to work from home. One last point — get into the proper mindset and encourage your staff or coworkers to do so.
Everybody needs to understand that you still need to get the work done, even if it feels like a vacation when you are at home. Existing remote teams have mastered this skill, so follow their good example.
Remote or on-site teams during the quarantine?
As I have said before, successful remote teams have mastered the skill of working with customers, and this applies even if they are on the other side of the planet. These people are not stressed out by self-isolation or inability to talk to a customer in person — they’re just used to this type of work.
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When seeking out a business partner during this time, consider choosing a remote team. Here are some of the advantages:
- The best worldwide talent available. You are no longer limited to professionals from your region — choose the most skilled developers, designers, architects worldwide.
- Strong communication culture. No missed calls, no ghosting, no wasting your time on inefficient chats. All communication time is used properly and with maximum benefit.
- Efficiency, self-control and time management. Most remote teams follow Agile methodology and take part in daily meetings where they discuss their tasks and priorities. Issues and failures are discussed, too, to solve problems and prevent them. No micromanagement required.
- Full control over the team. You can check up on the team at any time and check the deliverables, how the schedule is going, whether deadlines are manageable.
- Lower expenses. You don’t have to pay for the office or other team maintenance costs. You also don’t have to worry about hiring anyone — your remote software development partner will do everything for you.
Make the best of the current situation and try working with a remote team to keep your business afloat. As you can see, they are definitely more adaptable to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ways to enhance business during the quarantine
Most people were unprepared for the coronavirus outbreak, and this is probably their first experience with self-isolation. Some won’t take the issue seriously and therefore help the virus to spread.
As a professional or business leader, you can spread helpful information and help people cope with the problems that arise.
- Provide reliable information about the coronavirus as more is learned. Follow what WHO says about hygiene and self-isolation practices; discourage panic buying or hoarding of items such as face masks, toilet paper, and canned food.
- Self-isolate yourself and your staff as soon as you can. You already know about tools that can make working remotely more efficient, so put them to use. This will help “flatten the curve” to help your local healthcare system cope with new COVID-19 cases rather than overwhelming hospital facilities.
- Consider how your business can be helpful during this crisis. Maybe you can make some of your services free? For example, Coursera for Campus is now free for all universities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Could you offer free and contactless product delivery? Being creative and socially responsible will help isolated people and enhance your business image.
To sum up, the coronavirus pandemic is not the end of the world. Yes, it has changed a great deal about how we carry on life and business around the world, but there is nothing we cannot overcome.
Just remember, you need to self-isolate, upgrade your hygiene routine, and choose to work with remote teams over local ones. Remember to help others; building a community where everyone supports one another will help all of us face the challenges of this pandemic and return to our normal lives as soon as possible.
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