COVID-19 is global crisis and no industry is immune. The universal imperative is for governments and organizations to take immediate action to protect their people. But even as companies and people deal with immediate impacts, they need to look to strategies that will secure the survival and longevity of their businesses.  

The impacts of COVID-19 on businesses vary in severity and complexity. Travel and tourism companies have been hit hard. Insurance is experiencing a greater impact than from previous pandemics and economic shocks. Retail and consumer goods organizations are dealing with stock shortages due to production delays, disrupted manufacturing, and broken supply chains. Conferences, events and gatherings are being postponed or cancelled entirely.  

To protect their people, organizations are re-examining how their workplaces operate, and how their people work. 

The time to act is now.  

The right decisions now can help businesses swiftly navigate the crisis, and set the foundations for how they operate in future. Accenture, with its global workforce has created a very successful elastic workplace environment. Building on its deep experience, it has created an Elastic Business Workforce solution that provides a framework to guide businesses through the process. 

So what actions can businesses take to help them avoid business disruption and potential revenue loss, forge new levels of trust with their workforce, and position their businesses for greater resiliency and productivity in the future? 

IMMEDIATE ACTIONS TO ENSURE BUSINESS CONTINUITY AMID COVID-19 

  • The top priority is to immediately help employees adapt to remote working and optimize the experience to maximize productivity, including how to effectively run large- and small-scale virtual meetings.  
  • Immediately deploy or scale the use of collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, and provide targeted prescriptive guidance for effective productivity for the remote connected workplace.  
  • Organize an Elastic Digital Workplace Task Force today with representation from the business, Legal, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications and Security.  
  • Equip traditional desktop workers with mobile solutions and implement Virtual Desktop solutions from Amazon, Citrix, Microsoft and VMWare and provide secure remote access to applications and data.  
  • Use Accenture’s experience and take advantage of limited free-use solutions from our ecosystem of strategic partners and providers to rapidly scale your capabilities to meet the new demand. 

Three foundational steps 

There are three major foundations to consider putting in place. 

Protect and empower your people

  • Adjust your workplace to enable your people to work remotely through digital collaboration tools. 
  • Build the necessary skills around these new ways of working.  
  • Start cultivating a digital culture.  
  • Construct a workplace of trust. 

Serve your customers’ core needs 

  • Adapt to changing global and local conditions by serving your customers’ core needs. This includes being transparent in your operations and compassionate in your engagements—all of which will create deeper, more trusted relationships. 

Establish business continuity 

  • Ensure supplier relationships and business-to-business processes are effectively supported.  
  • Develop new business processes to adapt to new ways of collaboration and decision-making. 

Join me tomorrow as I look at how to begin planning and practically implementing these foundational structures. 

For more on creating an Elastic Digital Workforce click here. If you need assistance ramping up your COVID-19 workforce response, please get in touch with me. 

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