The COVID-19 global pandemic has rattled industries across the world. Its wide-ranging impacts include travel restrictions, production delays, conference cancellations, and lost sales opportunities.

These weeks, as the coronavirus outbreak escalates, the U.S is enforcing social distancing measures to “flatten the curve”. Major cities across the country including NYC, LA, and San Francisco are shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and schools to try to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus.

But the world keeps spinning, the economy has to keep functioning, and we need to find a way to live with this situation for longer than we thought. The outbreak has definitely brought about new social and work behaviors, which are driving the need for virtual workplace platforms and labor productivity measurement.

In early March 2020, most of the big tech companies imposed remote working orders, for which many already had the infrastructure in place to support virtual working. As for small, medium and startup businesses with limited resources, it could be more challenging.

In my experience from building Kaizen Technology Partners from the ground up as a WFH virtual company, here are some recommendations.

1. Know Your Virtual Options

Even before the lockdown, Kaizen Technology Partner members were working from different parts of the country and world since its inception. Here are some suggested options and several new players for your organizations should to consider:

Messaging apps: 

WhatsApp / Slack / Flowdock / AWS Chime

Use these to create different messaging groups for different groups of people. You can use these for quick team huddles, updates, etc. In fact, you might be surprised at how much time you save this way versus doing it in person.

Remote video conferencing services: 

Zoom / Google Hangouts / Microsoft Teams / Maestro

Use these to set-up remote conferencing services to allow users to meet face-to-face even when physically apart. In response to high demand during the outbreak, Zoom, Microsoft and Google are offering many of their paying features for free as well as increasing the number of participants allowed in their free version. 

Project management services:

Asana / HiTask / LiquidPlanner / Trello

Use these platforms for project management, organizing tasks, tracking and reporting of program status to more effectively manage risks and resources. 

2. Be Prepared for the Worst-Case Scenario 

Great leaders will always be prepared. Plan your Disaster Recovery and Backup Protocol from Day 1.

The coronavirus pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on leaders in business which will be tested to the max. During the crisis, leaders have had to take action to start Work-From-Home (WFH) policies almost immediately. We have seen a significant surge for SaaS businesses and Cloud usage during this WFH era (check out Zoom’s stock movement). I highly recommend the research conducted by McKinsey which illustrates 5 sets of actions for U.S companies responding to the COVID-19 challenges, respectively including Workforce Protection, Supply Chain Stabilization, Customer Engagement, Financial Stress Testing and Nerve-Centre Integration. Generally, the more adaptive leaders are, the more likely their organizations will overcome this crisis.

3. And last… One of the best things I learned from the Harvard Owner/President Management Program: find a way to turn crisis into opportunity.

Take a moment to not just see the things you and your team have lost, but look for the positives and the efficiencies you may be able to gain by reviewing how things might be done differently and better in the future at a time when you can test out new ideas. 

Most importantly, take another moment to find new ways to reach out and give a special touch to your prospects, clients and team. That could be sending everyone the same t-shirt to wear on a virtual team conference call, or the same red bottle of wine to drink together during a virtual happy hour meeting. These little touches can bring people closer together when they might otherwise be feeling detached while working remote. 



3 MINUTES WITH DAO JENSEN (FOUNDER AND CEO)

Come Curious, Leave Inspired

Dao Jensen is a prominent woman in cloud – a hustler, community activist, mother of four and soon-to-be Harvard graduate. She has been in the tech industry for over 20 years. In 2013, she founded Kaizen Technology Partners as the first 100% female minority owned firm. Dao was one of the 2019 Enterprising Women of the Year award winners.
The 3 Minutes with Dao Jensen series features her most inspirational and hardest learned lessons in three bitesize insights.

About Kaizen Technology Partners

Kaizen Technology Partners is a certified women-led premier cloud consulting and services firm based in San Francisco, California. With a strong leadership team and diverse technology expertise, Kaizen has been recognized as one of Inc 5000’s fastest growing private companies for three continuous years and is one of the Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies in the US.

As a cloud consulting firm, we can consult, plan and execute drastic business and IT transformation. Cooperation has never been more critical, and at Kaizen TP, we value bringing value to our clients and the community first. Please reach out to hello@kaizentp.com if you have any ideas for collaboration.