COVID-19 Impacts Engineering Firms: Technology Services During A Pandemic
Get tips on supporting out-of-the-office workers during the coronavirus. Look at the challenges facing engineering firms and find out how to deal with COVID-19.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has sent stock markets into decline and prompted unprecedented closure of schools, universities, restaurants, and other businesses around the country. In an attempt to maintain productivity while reducing the contagion curve, many companies have sent their employees to work from home.
If you run an engineering firm, you can likely handle a lot of tasks remotely, but if you’re used to dealing with an in-house team, this shift ushers in a new set of challenges. To ensure that you can provide continued service to your clients even if you have to close your offices due to COVID-19, you need to be prepared. Check out these tips.
Preparing Your Engineering Firm for COVID-19
If you haven’t sent your workers home yet, you need to start thinking about the possibility. To ensure you’re ready, you may want to consider the following questions:
- Can your employees work from home? Even if you feel like you don’t need to close your office, the closure of schools in the majority of states prohibits many parents from going into work.
- Do you have tools and processes to facilitate remote teams working on your engineering projects?
- Can you provide continuity of telephone services? Can you use hunt groups, routing, or other methods so that incoming calls get routed to the right people, without changing your phone numbers?
- What will you do if you have to deal with an extended shutdown of your office? Keep in mind that a prolonged shutdown may require a different approach than supporting a remote team for a short period.
- If you can keep your office open, do you have a plan to deal with the ramifications of crucial personnel being forced into quarantine? Can they work from home? If they fall ill, do you have provisions in place to cover their duties?
- Are you comfortable with your business continuity plan in light of the coronavirus? Do you need help creating and implementing your strategy?
Challenges of Remote Working for Engineers
Turning your engineering firm into a remote team ushers in a lot of problems, and they vary widely depending on the type of firm you have, your on-going projects, the health risks in your area, and more. For a lot of engineering firms, the biggest challenge of going remote is finding ways to facilitate communication and collaborate on projects.
If you have field engineers who regularly work on job sites, you may already have tools in place to facilitate remote communication. Still, you may want to talk with your employees about how to keep themselves safe on job sites. In particular, you may want to advise against shaking hands and emphasize the importance of social distancing (maintaining at least six feet between yourself and other people).
Tech Tools for Remote Teams
Luckily, there are a lot of tech tools that can help with group communication and project collaboration, but when making the shift to these tools, you also have to take steps to ensure your network is secure. When you’re working outside your office, your data may be especially vulnerable to hackers, and you need to ensure your network environment is protected.
If your engineers get paid hourly, you may also want to look into time tracking tools. These tools are essential for managing payroll, and because they often come with features that let workers note which project they are working on, they allow you to accurately assess how much time your team is devoting to particular projects.
Additionally, if your employees are not used to working from home, they may struggle with time management skills, and these tools help to make workers more accountable.
Over the years, our firm has helped multiple businesses weather all kinds of threats from hurricanes to cyberattacks, and we can help your engineering firm create a continuity plan in the face of the coronavirus.
To get help with business continuity, networking, remote collaboration, security, and more, contact us today. At 360 Smart Networks, we are an Atlanta-based cybersecurity and managed IT services company, and we can help you safeguard success through tough times.