Tips for Handling Remote Team Emergencies

Guest post by Ashley Kent.

If your company is in the process of transitioning to a remote team, there’s often an adjustment period when it comes to managing everyday issues as well as more serious ones. Particularly during a global pandemic, it’s vital to show your team that you’re prepared to handle the fallout from unexpected disruptions. Depending on your needs, Bill Peatman explains how staff augmentation can add value to your remote team if you’re planning on scaling up.

For the benefit of new and existing team members, here are some suggestions to help you plan for the worst-case scenarios:

1. Open up communication channels between members

During remote work situations, one of the most crucial aspects you need to consider is getting everyone on the same page. An article from Harvard Business Review on emergency planning suggests determining the comfort level of your team when it comes to using video conferencing apps and other online platforms and providing training where necessary. Ensuring that they get to practice and adjust to any new software will be invaluable during a work-related emergency. In addition, having a communications protocol in place will help get everyone updated. This entails sorting out primary communication channels, updating contact information, and clarifying business hours.

2. Have financial protection in place

In the event of an unforeseen illness or a downturn in your business, making sure that your team members have a financial backup plan can help them get back on their feet. If they don’t already have one, creating an emergency fund will take some of the pressure off during these troubled times. Consider exploring different options for savings accounts, like a Marcus guide to a high yield business savings account explains how it can lead to increased savings over time compared to traditional savings accounts, and when it comes to an emergency fund, you can never be too prepared. Financial literacy is very important and by ensuring your team is aware of how important an emergency fund is they will appreciate you looking out for them.

3. Archive important files to the cloud

When it comes to storing and securing your data, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If your team is remote, it’s easy to lose data if you’re constantly sending and receiving updated versions of a file. To avoid losing project-related information, you should find a cloud-based storage system to help you protect your important documents. Backing up your data regularly on an external drive as well as online will reduce the risk of erasure. While there’s still a slim chance of losing your data, covering your bases will prevent this from happening.

4. Show support for your team and give aid when it is needed

If remote work is a new policy, mental health issues and irregular working hours might cause an initial dip in productivity. If you experience a scenario where an important project has a rapidly approaching deadline, you need all team members to be working at their best. Keeping an eye on everyone’s mental health should be your responsibility, especially when workers may feel isolated. A Forbes article recommends scheduling video meetings where you can provide coaching and regular check-ups to boost the wellbeing of your team. Team building activities and constant interaction can also help individual members feel included.

Although remote team emergencies might come up when they’re least welcomed or expected, it’s also important to remember that online availability doesn’t always mean that employees should be contacted at all times. As a leader, you should normalize breaks and remind your team that they can’t be “always-on.” Rebekah Monson describes how rest and recovery are necessary to prevent burnout from occurring, and turning off notifications can help give everyone some much-needed peace. If something is extremely urgent, phone calls and emergency numbers can be used. However, most minor issues can wait until working hours resume.

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