Canada now has over 4000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) infections, mostly British Columbia and Ontario, with everyone recovering so far. Here’s a close to real-time map view of the COVID-19 breakout.
The issue for Non Profits really is having staff unavailable due to sickness or self-imposed quarantine. Fourteen days of quarantine is a long time in any business or organization.
How do you deal with staff that a not in the office?
Are you looking for assistance setting up your staff remotely? If you are Canadian based we can help. Find out more at Trusted Technology.
See also: Microsoft Teams for Non Profits
A Mobile Workforce
A lot of the Non Profits we work with already have a mobile workforce in place for at least part of the staff.
Many Non Profits are using laptops instead of desktops, so that staff can take what they need to meetings or on trips or training sessions.
This makes having a self-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 much more manageable. With the right setup, or enhancing the setup you have now you should be able to keep staff connected to the office without too much effort.
Even if your computers are desktop based, most staff have a computer or device at home that can be used with the services we talk about below.
They may want to enhance that home setup with a full size keyboard and mouse and an external monitor. A laptop screen is pretty small to work on full-time.
Remote Access To Email
Many if not all email systems allow web-based access to email accounts.
This might be some sub-folder or sub-domain address related to your domain name, or a login page for your hosting provider. COVID-19 shouldn’t stop you staff from receiving and sending emails.
If you use Office 365 you can always get to your emails using https://outlook.office365.com and the look and feel is very close to using it with the desktop version of Outlook.
Gmail has the same at https://accounts.google.com/ although the look is Google, not Outlook.
Don’t forget to also let external emailers know if staff cannot respond by usining Out Of Office settings or other settings.
Remote Access To Files
Remote access to files might be a little more difficult if you still keep all your organization’s files on an internal server at the office.
Again, most organizations we deal with have a cloud aspect to their data as well.
If you subscribe to the Non Profit version of Office 365 or Google Non Profit you have options to put your data in the cloud.
Office 365 has SharePoint sites that can be shared across the organization. Google has Google Drive (now called Google Backup & Sync). Both offer a way to access those files from anywhere.
It wouldn’t take much to connect staff and put files they need in a central cloud-based location, even if it is only temporary. However you may want to look at these as a more permanent solution.
Other options also exist such as Egnyte, Dropbox, Box, etc.
Having staff away from the office shouldn’t stop communications. It can be easy for all staff to stay connected with each other regardless of where they are.
Services such as Slack, Skype, Asana, Teams allow staff to chat, and even video call each other in an easy to set up format.
Most services allow you to set up “channels” to keep conversations of a similar thread within their own space.
Other Cloud Based Tools
Of course if you are using other cloud based tools such as SalesForce, Smartsheets, and others, then they by default have web based logins that are available from any location.
COVID-19 Might Change How You Work
If you look at and implement any of the solutions mentioned here then you may find that you choose not to remove them when COVID-19 is over.
Cloud based systems offer enhanced capabilities for an ever more mobile workforce.
It has become quite easy to stay in contact with staff and make them still feel part of the team even when they are not physically present.
Maybe COVID-19 will help you embrace some of the new technology out there to the benefit of your staff and your organization.