Telecommuting during the days of COVID-19 is not only inevitable, but recommended. On March 1st, we started discussions at Net Friends about the potential effects of COVID-19 on our customers and how Net Friends can support them with a 100% remote staff.
We divided among our management team the effort of ensuring our staff’s safety. Each manager designed a practice drill that put each staff member in their preferred remote environment to verify they could perform their duties at or near full productivity. The result by March 13th was 100% compliance and confirmation that Net Friends is now ready to support its entire customer set in a fully or partially remote capacity.
Areas of focus for each department were as follows:
1. Secure a safe and distraction free work zone
Our top priority for our staff is their safety. We first wanted to identify a location that would either prevent them from being exposed to COVID-19 or spreading it if they found themselves in a high-risk zone. We also wanted to ensure they were able to work uninterrupted and keep distractions at a minimum. With the expectation that many schools would be out of session for an unknown amount of time, being able to find a quiet space that was something we didn’t want to overlook!
2. Identify and verify access to critical support tools
Net Friends provides support for thousands of individual employees at our customers via a combination of onsite presence and remote support tools. Ensuring each of our team members were able to successfully access the following toolsets was a key strategy in ensuring we maintain an open line between our teams and customer base.
- Client system remote management and monitoring (RMM) tools
- Support ticketing and issue tracking systems
- Client communication tools like chat and telephone queues
3. Verify secure access to company data
Net Friends hosts its operational data in a variety of cloud based systems. This specific drill allowed each of our support staff and management team members to think through whether all essential data and toolsets that can be virtualized are indeed virtualized.
4. Create a check-in procedure with management to ensure all staff are safe and accounted for
Depending on the department's function, we put into practice a check-in system from 2-4 times a day. Some of our departments automatically check in by being signed into a phone queue, while others act more autonomously. The key takeaway is that we remain highly visible to each other internally, and more importantly to our customers.