The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has already been categorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic, which means that the infection can affect multiple countries from several continents at once. Dozens of countries in the EU have already closed their borders, while the US has banned all flights coming from Europe. A growing number of countries have closed their schools, universities, banning gatherings of people and putting on hold all indoor-related activities.
High-profile tech companies are encouraging or even mandating the adoption of a work-from-home policy. There is no doubt that IT and software companies already have the infrastructure and policy needed for remote working in place.
Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. During the COVID-19 crisis, software companies need to get creative and start enabling remote work efficiency. They need to embrace digitization if they want to stay ahead of the curve and fully leverage the digital environment.
Ensuring Remote Work Efficiency
To make sure that all the processes are up to date and the workflow is up to par, software companies have to be certain that all of their employees have unrestricted access to VPN, can easily access chat & conferencing apps, have strong security measures in place, and ultimately can perform their daily tasks in a risk-free environment.
At this point, it is mandatory to be 100% positive that their employees are motivated and look at the bright side of things. Yes, they are stuck at home, and yes, the meetings are more complex via video calls or phone calls. However, they can now save a lot of time on transportation, plus experience fewer distractions and thus enjoy an increase in work productivity. Remote work comes with certain perks companies can leverage.
For a streamlined remote work efficiency, the company should ensure the following:
- Physical security of company devices: devices employees use need to be protected against theft or cyber-attacks. Full-disk encryption, master passwords, multi-factor authentication (MFA) and automatic back-up in the cloud of the information stored are a necessity.
- Ease of accessing the company's networks & systems: the employees should access the intranet of the organization, including other systems & networks, using a secure VPN connection or a token-based connection. The allowance of employees to their work email and cloud services should only be permitted in a strict setting.
- Support & crisis management: in addition to strong protocols that each employee should follow when working remotely, the software company should also focus on daily communication, constant support, responsiveness, health & safety measures, and accessibility.
Tools for Remote Working
Remote work has become the norm in the IT industry, with many tech companies offering their employees the best tools for telecommuting. This stack/bundle includes collaborative, IT-oriented apps and frameworks focused on project management and team collaboration.
Here are some of the best tools available in 2020 to boost your team’s efficiency and increase collaboration between members:
- Basecamp: quite a popular choice among teams & agencies, this software program offers numerous features for streamlined communication. With Basecamp, your team can easily organize conversations and share ideas.
- Microsoft's Teams: a modern tool that allows teams that use Office 365 to keep all their conversations, files, meetings and apps in a common shared space. Additionally, it allows people to conduct ad-hoc meetings, view their schedules and add files to the group's drive.
- ProofHub: This tool offers online discussions, proofing, remote project management and “chat to share” feedback, to name just a few.
- Slack: This is undoubtedly the favorite choice among large corporations. Slack channels integrate with mobile devices to keep your team connected 24/7.
- Champ: this is a powerful quick feedback tool that allows managers to improve employee mental health and check on their results, all anonymously.
- Time Doctor: this is a modern time tracking app for teams, enabling each team member to avoid distractions and get a boost in productivity.
- WooBoard: this online platform can be used by managers and leaders to recognize members of their team. Celebrate the success of your team with this powerful tool.
Business Tips for Software Companies to Cope with the COVID-19 Threat
In addition to establishing a clear remote work option and ensuring your team uses the best remote working tools possible, you also need to get practical. Below are a few steps you should take to protect your software business against coronavirus.
- Business interruption insurance: this might be a good option for you, especially if you expect major business losses. For instance, if some of your partners will shut down their companies due to the pandemic, having a business interruption insurance in place could protect you from costly taxes.
- Sales strategy moved online: In China, right after the COVID-19 has struck Wuhan, many software companies shut their doors and moved completely online. Instead of meeting with potential partners at restaurants, they began to have meetings online and sign the contracts over the WiFi. Businesses from all over the world want to follow the example of Wuhan companies and relocate online.
- Long-term planning: although some countries are beginning to recover, the threat of the virus is still extending throughout the world, being responsible for a ripple effect that will affect us all. Most businesses expect the COVID-19 to have a moderate impact on their revenue. Thus, it becomes a must for any software company to speak to their local authorities, partners, suppliers and other companies to implement measures that will safeguard them.
- Outsource/Nearshore your Services: a possible solution against the COVID-19 threat relates to outsourcing, or nearshoring. While for companies in the UK, Scandinavia or Central Europe, nearshoring means hiring developers from Easter Europe, for the US and Canada it means going to companies located in Chile or Brazil. Of course, US companies could easily outsource their software services to companies from Romania. By using a nearshore partner to support and develop key aspects of your business, you can gain the confidence needed to manage your way through the COVID-19 crisis.
How Tremend is Working During COVID-19
At Tremend, we are aligned with all measures applied by local governments and we focus on providing high-end nearshoring services to all our partners
We encouraged all our staff and collaborators to work from home and presented them with a set of prevention measures to enhance safety. With a considerable percentage of our clients running their business outside Romania’s territory, our development procedure and infrastructure have been prepared for online work and remote access.
During these harsh times, we encourage transparency starting at the team level and making sure it propagates at the client and organization level. We keep constant communication with our clients via calls and video conferences, we make ourselves available through all online communication channels and minimize our time of response.
As Agile promoters, we still value individual interactions, therefore whenever it is needed we call our peer colleagues and try to minimize the response time and discomfort of having to chat too much to find a solution. We arranged working groups inside the project teams based on working topics to facilitate support, we arranged schedules so that all can be aligned with our availability. All project events are now happening online through video conferences.
Our primary measure of success is still working software that we are providing through continuous delivery and attention to quality, offering the same services, roles, and responsibilities as we did before.
It is indeed a more difficult time but we trust that we will come out of this better organized, closer to our peers and clients, with a perfected delivery process and with a lot of creative ideas.