With the coronavirus, or COVID-19, nearing pandemic status, businesses should be concerned with employee well-being and disruptions to business continuity. After seeing financial markets plummet, production lines halted, and closure of major tourist attractions like the Louvre, it can be difficult to not get caught up in the media sensationalism, especially as cases begin to be reported close to home in Rhode Island and surrounding states.

It’s important to remember that the virus is primarily fatal to an approximate 1.4% of the population, typically those over age 60 with a pre-existing condition are most susceptible to the virus. While the virus can be fatal to that small percentage of the population, the common flu is much more dangerous. Those infected with the Coronavirus will experience very mild flu-like symptoms, making it hard to discern from other common ailments floating around this time of year. To further complicate matters, contractors of the virus could be asymptomatic, and the incubation period could be anywhere from 1-14 days.

Transmission prevention is important to protect yourself and everyone around you from spreading any illness. As with the flu, coronavirus can be prevented by:

  • thoroughly washing your hands
  • avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • limiting your contact with people if you/they are sick
  • staying home from work if you suspect you’re sick

While these are all crucial to staying healthy, that last one is important to prevent possible transmission. Even if you’re accustomed to working through sickness in the past, it’s not a good idea to continue doing this. That deadline, project, and important meeting can wait—that work will still be there once you’re healthy. If you go into work sick, the only thing you’ll accomplish is prolonging your illness, making yourself miserable, and getting others in the office sick.

The CDC is advising people to be prepared for disruptions to daily life that will be necessary if the coronavirus spreads within communities. We know you can’t afford a disruption to your business, so we’ve compiled a list of ways to keep your business moving and your employees collaborating, even if they aren’t able to physically be in the office for a while.

Remote into the Office

Many of our clients already use remote software to access their company resources from out of the office. Instantly access your work system, server, data shares, and network from home with ease. VPN and remote software are protected by military-grade encryption and work anywhere there is an internet connection.

Access Office Email at Home

With Office 365, you can access your email from anywhere. Office 365 licenses include the ability to use Outlook in a desktop application, on the web browser via the Office website, and the Outlook app on mobile devices and tablets. Emails, Calendar, and Tasks are stored in the cloud and synced between all your connected devices; therefore, you can rest knowing you’re always in the loop with the latest conversation updates.

Inter-office Communication & Collaboration with Teams

Microsoft Teams allows an organization to take communication to the next level with instant messaging, audio/video calling, and calendar access. Additionally, Teams fully integrates with Office 365. Teams enables employees to set status messages, share files, check their work shifts, and create virtual meetings, all from this incredibly versatile application. Teams is also easily accessible from a desktop, website, and mobile app, so you never miss a thing.

Leave the Meeting Room and Projector Behind

Microsoft Teams allows you to take meetings, video conferences, and presentations anywhere with their Meetings integration. Meetings allows you to invite up to 250 employees to a video meeting and features the ability to share your screen for PowerPoint presentations, share files, and even blur the background of your video feed with a button toggle. Meetings integrates with Outlook, Calendar, and Tasks for easy notification. Teams also offers the ability to invite guests to meetings, meaning perspective business clients don’t have to have Teams installed to join.

Continue the Conversation with VoIP

Did you know benefits of VoIP phone systems can be enjoyed outside of the office? VoIP solutions allow you to take work calls at home, extend ring groups out of office, and forward office calls directly to your mobile device. VoIP also offers voicemail transcription, which sends a transcribed version of the voicemail directly to your email. This is especially handy if you miss a call, can’t access or listen to your voicemail, or suspect a telemarketer is calling.

These recommendations help keep your employees productive and working even if they can’t make it to the office. By supplying employees with the tools they need, you can reduce the amount of people going to work sick. These items can also be utilized in severe weather conditions, during travel, and for general use. While we’re hoping the spread of coronavirus subsides, companies should still review their continuity plans to ensure the organization is always up, running, and productive. After all, isn’t it better to be prepared for any situation that could arise?