My COVID-19 Business Journey
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
My Philosophy: Business as Usual
The message to employees was simple, “We are a team and during these times this is going to be tested. As you probably know the governor of Nevada has requested the closure of nonessential businesses in the state. Although we are essential businesses we will be abiding by the order for the safety of our community and employees. We will be putting forth our contingency plans for both companies. It is my expectation that all employees continue to work from home with the “business as usual” philosophy with as minimal interruptions as possible. I know you may have a lot of questions as to how this is going to work, so I will try and address as much as possible in this follow-up email to our verbal discussion. I am not perfect, and I may forget a few things, so please check with your manager if you have additional questions.”
To not bore you with all the details as a reader, I then went department by department to cover all the rules that we would all be complying with during the shutdown. We covered human resources, accounting, marketing, customer service, management meeting directives and most importantly information technology.
The reason I needed to know if the employees had a home computer, internet and cell phone is because I needed to maintain the security of the confidential information from the server level, which required their desktop computers remain in the office for them to access. Pro tip: If you leave the desktop computers intact all the system configurations remain the same and you have uninterrupted technology issues. Let the employees take the computers home and good luck controlling what works and what does not work.
Now that employees could securely access the technology needed to do their jobs, I had to focus on the customer experience, which meant we would have to put our phone system to the test like we never had before. Our phone system did not require an actual phone on the desk even though we were still using them. We all downloaded an app on our cell phones and were able to put forth a unified front that appeared to the recipient on the other end of the phone as if we were in the office. Incoming and outgoing calls were made through the app. At the end of the day all you had to do was turn off the app, and your cell phone returned to personal use. And no, if anyone is wondering I did not pay for increased internet speed or cell phone bills during this time, nor did one of my employees request it. I was already bending over backwards to keep the ship afloat and they respected that.
Probably the most shocking situation in implementing the contingency plan was how unprepared our regulatory bodies were, offering little to no guidance. It was as if they required us to have a contingency plan, but they did not have one themselves. I guess the “practice what you preach” saying does not apply to government. Nevertheless, they were notified that our contingency plan was in place.
“Probably the most shocking situation in implementing the contingency plan was how unprepared our regulatory bodies were, offering little to no guidance... I guess the “practice what you preach” saying does not apply."
Typically, a contingency plan is put into place when the facilitate/building of a company is destroyed. This was not the situation, so we modified the contingency plan, so that the accounting policies and procedures were implemented in the office for the smoothest use of resources. This required Chris Trembly the Director of Operations and I to work from the office to guide the ships. Little did we know at the time that this meant becoming the personal assistant to all employees. This also made the two of us realize all the little things that make the businesses successful that we take for granted.
With all internal notifications made, it was time for external communications to go out to investors, borrowers, and clients of both companies as to state protocol we were complying with and the uninterrupted business continuity plan they should expect of us. Yes, I said expect because these are the standards upon which they have come to expect from us.
On March 18, 2020, after the all employee meeting, employees were instructed to leave the office by noon and be ready for their transition text from IT to get their home office environment up and running. Patience was going to be a virtue on this day as each home computer was unique as you can imagine, therefore the configuration requirements varied. All in all, it was a huge success as we transitioned both companies in 8 hours to a fully functioning at home office environment. To say I was proud of my staff is an understatement.