A few business lessons on remote work that crisis can teach us
It is inevitable that COVID-19 will disturb not only health but also the economy.
Companies need to lock their businesses down and big decisions are being put aside while waiting for better times to come. However, putting the brakes on some projects may not be the way to go, since no one knows when the dust will settle down.
The coronavirus outbreak is just a recent example, but any crisis is a potential threat to a project if the concerned parties are not prepared for persevering.
The crisis doesn’t have to fully disturb work, though. While we can’t forget about what’s happening all around us, we’re still able to accomplish tasks and take on new projects with the help of a few adjustments.
One of them is remote work.
Today, we’ll talk a bit more about remote working and why it might save your business during these turbulent times, even if you assume otherwise.
What are some issues with running a business in challenging times?
KPMG have identified a few common contractual issues for businesses in troubling times, which you can see below.
While all of the aforementioned issues could have created problems a few years ago, they can be easily solved via online, remote management of the projects today.
How does remote working deal with these issues?
Well, it can probably solve them all. For many businesses, a lack of work on site definitely leads to problems with contracts, but it does not apply to technology.
While there is still plenty of uncertainty going forward, the work must go on and work still needs to be done. Even those businesses that are on complete lockdown need to handle the situation somehow. The environment is challenging, but companies must do their best to run their business as usual. The same should apply to internal and external collaborations.
Being prepared to cater for this new environment is not a choice any longer, especially when nobody knows when the turbulent times will end and business will return to normal.
If work progresses as usual, except for being managed and reported remotely, then there’s no reason to worry about signing, terminating or breaching contracts.
Today shows why this is, but should not be, a challenge for many.
Those who had already adapted to remote working don’t necessarily win today, but more importantly they don’t lose.
Work can’t stop
It’s understandable that the crisis may dampen the mood for launching, investing or spending resources. Of course, some businesses that are under financial pressure might face problems when it comes to upholding contracts and continuing work. However, if nothing except for the method of working and the economical lockdown changes, then putting technological projects on hold is very often not necessary. Actually, in certain cases, doing so could even be considered irresponsible.
Any projects that were launched before the outbreak are likely to be continued now, so those that were scheduled to launch and are ready to go shouldn’t be put on hold either.
What’s more, and what might be a tad controversial: this may be a really good time to work on certain projects while the World is slowing down a bit, especially if nothing really changes except for the type of work. This is where the following question arises: how to make it work?
Finding the right partner to run a project is crucial. Nearly everyone is working remotely nowadays, but not many software houses know how to properly sort out their remote workflows.
Change your approach
Facing the crisis isn’t a perfect situation for either side of a project and the atmosphere can be tense, it’s true. What’s most important is to stay safe, but also to be proactive, productive and keen to find workaround ways to deliver.
Many businesses facing an external crisis need to quickly adjust to remote working.
Regardless of whether or not they have previously been remote working evangelists, they’re often now being thrown headfirst into a brand new situation that they need to handle.
There’s a hurtful opinion that remote working means a lack of productivity and missing deadlines. The problem doesn’t lie with remote working itself, but rather with business partners who don’t live up to expectations and put more groups off the idea as a result.
It’s a test for collaboration
While external collaboration (with software houses or agencies) is important, the crisis situation also puts internal collaboration to the test. This is another reason why it’s better to persevere on projects with those for whom remote working is their bread and butter. They may share their best practices and help you survive the transition to remote working, while maintaining the project stays up and running.
It won’t happen overnight. First of all, it takes a lot of work and understanding.
Long story short: being surrounded by business partners who know the nature of remote working can save a whole project.
Keep growing, regardless
In turbulent times, you need to find a way of running your projects and also evaluating any potential risks. Of course you may be concerned about how the whole situation could affect your business, but to survive and be successful you need to grow and, eventually, scale.
If your team is not ready for this, your first thought might be to hire more people to accomplish some tasks. But how can you safely hire someone and conduct appropriate onboarding now, when you have been thrown in at the deep end in terms of working remotely and trying to sort out project management?
Well, you should think about contracting a software development company that is able to complete the project for you. That way, it can be done without you hiring extra people, or spending time on the searching, screening and onboarding process that go with it. Not to mention the additional never-ending costs that you would eventually have to cover.
With contractors, you don’t have such strings attached: if all goes well, you can scale the collaboration. If not, it’s fine to part ways. What’s more, contracting can be much cheaper than hiring someone full-time, since you will hand a whole project over instead of providing benefits and business expenses for a particular employee.
Contractors can therefore help you grow and adjust your activities to any current situation,despite reducing costs. So why not jump on a call and talk about it?
The outbreak may stop some business for a while, and it will probably have an impact on operations. Does this mean that you need to stop too? Not if you don’t have a valid reason to do so, no. Running a business as usual may be one step too far, but if your team has the capabilities to work remotely then make the most of it. If not, provide them with the necessary tools to make remote working easier. In terms of external collaboration, choose those companies that know how to organize their work remotely and have already been doing so for quite a while.
There are a lot of things to worry about right now, but remote working shouldn’t be one of them. Not with us, anyway.
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