Advice for Responding to Emergencies as a Dispersed Team

As businesses adapt to the changing landscape of the current global pandemic, there is an increasing need to develop remote teams in order to maintain productivity. This can be a difficult transition, as employers must adjust to the unique challenges that come with managing mundane and urgent tasks. To help with this process, Bill Peatman has created an effective strategy to scale remote staff through staff augmentation. This method can be a great asset for businesses, especially in times of crisis, as it provides a foundation for dealing with unexpected interruptions.

In order to assist both new and veteran members of your team prepare for the worst, here are some tips:

  1. Remove any barriers to member-to-member contact.

    In order to ensure successful remote working, it is essential for everyone to be on the same page. As mentioned in a Harvard Business Review article on contingency planning, it is important to assess the team’s familiarity with video conferencing applications and other online platforms, so that any necessary teaching or training can be provided. Subsequently, providing time for your team to learn and adapt to any new software is crucial in order to be prepared in the event of an unexpected workplace crisis. Additionally, having a set method of communication can assist in keeping everyone informed. To begin, it is important to identify the most important means of contact, update any outdated information, and define operating hours. Doing this will ensure that all team members are up-to-date with the latest information.
  2. Make sure you’re covered monetarily.

    Establishing a financial safety net for your employees can be an invaluable asset in the event of an emergency, such as an unexpected illness or a decrease in sales. Having an emergency fund available can provide much needed relief during difficult times. It is advisable to research different savings account options, such as the high return business savings account described in the Marcus guide, in order to ensure that your staff has the best possible emergency fund. It is also important to educate your employees on the value of an emergency fund, demonstrating your support and care for their financial well-being. By doing so, you will also help to foster their financial literacy.
  3. Save critical documents on the cloud.

    When it comes to data storage and security, it is always better to be cautious than sorry. In a distributed team, where files are regularly exchanged between members, the risk of data loss is high. In order to protect vital documents and prevent project-related information from being lost, it is advisable to explore a cloud-based storage solution. Additionally, it is highly recommended to back up data both on an external device and online. This way, the likelihood of permanent data loss is significantly reduced. Of course, there is still a slight risk of data loss, but if the right precautions are taken, there is no need to worry.
  4. Do your part to help the team out and be there for them when they need you.

    It is possible that a transition to remote work may initially have a negative impact on output due to mental health factors and potential irregular work hours. In the event of a rapidly approaching project deadline, it is of the utmost importance that all team members are working at their highest capacity. As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure the emotional wellbeing of your staff, particularly when they may be feeling isolated and disconnected. According to a Forbes article, organising regular check-ins and coaching sessions can be beneficial for the health of your team. Additionally, holding video conferences, participating in team-building exercises, and consistently engaging in dialogue can help to make your staff feel like they are part of a unified group.

In today’s remote working environment, it is important to remember that team members do not always need to be available 24/7 due to the fact that they are online. Managers should create a culture of taking breaks and encourage their teams to avoid being in a “always-on” state. Turning off notifications might provide the necessary peace of mind. Rebekah Monson, a well-known expert in the field, has described how relaxation and rest are essential to avoid burnout. It is vital to reserve phone calls and emergency lines for urgent matters only and postpone non-urgent issues until regular business hours resume.

Related Article: 4 Ways to Make Remote Team Communication Easier

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