Responding to COVID-19 Crisis: Working Remotely

Responding to COVID-19 Crisis: Working Remotely

COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on the lives of Americans and people globally.  Once hearing about the outbreak, many of us knew that it would only be a matter of time before the United States would become victim to this pandemic.  As a fulltime employee for a large utility, I wondered how long it would take for leadership to give approval for employees and contractors to work from home.  Low and behold, the approval came on March 16, 2020 for my co-workers and I to work from home.  As a utility, everyone cannot work from home because some perform work in the field.  Whereas employees considered back office can work remotely.  As a senior training professional, the opportunity existed.  I discovered the importance of using various technologies after accessing the corporate network, such as SKYPE for Business, One Connect Call, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Forms, and a statistical proprietary metering software.  

Using SKYPE for business allowed employees to continue to attend meetings and collaborate on projects by maintaining the ability to share and view documents/screens.  The recording feature posited as a structured way to document transcripts of the conversations held and to use that documentation as a point of reference when team members needed clarity about a prior conversation.  In this way, team members did not need to try to remember what someone said or did not say during meetings.  As a committee member for a university, ZOOM was the tool used for remote meetings and training events instead of SKYPE for Business. 

One Connect Call was another technology used to bring employees of the organization together in a synchronous manner to hear critical updates from corporate leadership.  In this way, employees received the same message at the same time albeit each employee listened to those conversations in different locations.  The organization chose to use SLIDO, a very easy to use polling platform.  Employees used SLIDO to pose questions and concerns to leadership about the pandemic and employees who tested positive for the virus.  Leadership provided answers during a subsequent One Connect Call.

Microsoft Teams allowed team members on my project to view and edit documents asynchronously to review and to integrate changes to various documents.  Our project team members used this tool to remain connected as well as Microsoft Outlook because of the integration of SKYPE to the email application.  Outlook has a tab to schedule SKYPE meetings through Outlook directly.  During this pandemic, training still had to continue and using Microsoft Power Point for some learners was an effective way to present some content while Microsoft Forms posited as a useful way to collect confidential Level 1 survey responses because the end user can have responses returned to any email address specified. My organization has a requirement to have all Level 1 responses returned to the key manager.  Despite everything happening globally, FaceTime and Face Book Live gave family a way to simply have fun, chat with each other, and a way to check on each other emotionally, mentally, and physically.  Using these tools allowed the family to engage and celebrate while adhering to social distancing.  Life for my family will not be the same.  Not ever. However, according to Rollins (2020), we need to move to a state of preparedness to respond to another unfortunate crisis that could ultimately arise.
 

References

Rollins, J. A. (2020).  The Coronavirus: Exposing Our Nation’s Vulnerabilities. Pediatric Nursing46(2), 57–59.

 

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Cassandra Smith
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