When the novel coronavirus first appeared in the early weeks of December, few could have predicted the massive, unprecedented impact it would have on our population, healthcare systems, social structures and economy. Today, when we are in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals have been asked to isolate themselves and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. For businesses, this means that working with remote teams has increasingly become a reality that they have to deal with. While many business owners fear remote working can lead to dips in productivity and open up the possibilities for miscommunication and poor coordination, the exact opposite can be true with the right planning.

Here are the best tips for helping your business thrive during the coronavirus outbreak.

1. Keep the lines of communications open

In the absence of a bustling work atmosphere, it can become easy for your employees to feel isolated, not just physically, but emotionally as well. This can dampen the team’s morale, which will have a direct effect on employee satisfaction and their quality of work. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential that everyone communicates with each other as frequently as possible. Apart from just work-related messages and calls, it’s also important to connect with your employees on an informal level to understand how they are dealing with the situation and if there is any support they require. This can help them feel valued and heard.

2. Invest in the best remote management software

Today, technology has advanced to such an extent that team members sitting across the world can collaborate and work cohesively, just as they would if they were in the same room as each other. Remote management software offers a suite of services that can be customized based on your company’s requirements. In general, a messaging software and project management software are services almost every company should make use of. These will ensure that all your employees are on the same page and are utilizing their time efficiently. Depending upon the kind of work that certain team members in your organization perform, they might also require special internet connections that offer a higher bandwidth, or other specialized tools. In most cases, however, a good laptop, fast internet and basic remote management tools should suffice.

3. Start using productivity trackers

Despite working remotely, your team’s productivity should be the same as it would be if they were working under the same roof. Productivity trackers can be great to enable visibility across team members and ensure that everyone is managing their time effectively. Typically, a productivity tracker helps you see how much time each team member spent on which task or project. This can allow you to understand if the right amount of time is going into a certain task, whether a team member’s priority work needs to be redistributed or whether a team member is lagging behind in terms of efficiency. Productivity trackers can also be a great way for employees themselves to manage their time better as it gives them a complete view of how they utilize their work day. This can help them plan future projects and timelines better.

4. Plan remote team building sessions

With your team members working remotely, planning activities and remote events where everyone can bond as a team is more crucial than ever before. Despite being physically apart, it’s important that your employees continue to see themselves as part of the same organization, working towards the same goals. To facilitate this sentiment, you can plan informal events such as virtual game nights or casual hangout sessions over video call. This can help your employees talk to each other on a lighter note, about topics unrelated to work. Fun activities can also boost your team’s morale and help them perform better at work.

5. Contingency plans for technology services

Most businesses must deal with the economic impact and create contingency plans. Tech companies will have to ensure services are maintained and projects remain on track. The upside of this lock down is that businesses realize that business as usual is possible through a video conference, without expensive travel budgets. Tech companies also have the advantage of being able to set up and work from where ever they can. However, the challenge is not often the technology, it is the regulations. Sensitive projects need client permission if they have to be taken out of the secure office space. Call center operations in India that act as a company’s back office need to set up business continuity plans. Businesses must remain optimistic that we will get past this unprecedented lockdown and that the economy will roar again.

We should not lose the advantages gained through these challenging times. It is an opportunity to build new work processes, build closer connections, improve coordination across remote teams and put in place a strong company culture that can outlast the pandemic.