Things have been changing rapidly in these past weeks and all the countries of the world are facing some challenging times. It seems like everyone is in limbo and the same goes for the business world, with the global economy being very uncertain.
While the coronavirus outbreak has understandably affected most of us personally and emotionally, it has also made a dent in our world of work. This pandemic has urged us to carry our laptops home and shut the doors to our offices.
As businesses prioritize the safety of their employees, many in-person meetings, events and gatherings are being called off. This leaves people searching for other ways to stay connected. We have some helpful virtual alternatives that can help you with that important meeting and/or product launches that you had planned.
Virtual alternatives to in-person meetings in the era of COVID-19
1. Social media:
Stay connected with your customers, prospects and business associates online via social media platforms. Share important messages and post regular (trustworthy) updates that your community and customers can take part in. This will help you create a dialogue around the topics that matter most for your organisation and company. The most important thing you have to think about is to make sure you are not risking anyone’s safety or health in any way.
2. Live events streaming:
Since events and mass gatherings are being suspended or cancelled, companies are facing a major crisis. If you have a big event scheduled but it’s on the brink of cancellation, it might be a good idea to turn to live streaming instead. In case it’s an exclusive event, you could make use of live videos streaming in closed Facebook Groups. LinkedIn has also launched LinkedIn Events (in beta phase, but open to all business pages) and LinkedIn Live (you’ll need to request access to use this feature).
Through live broadcasts you can host keynote speakers, panels, leadership meetings, workshops, product launches, news and announcements. It’s a very effective tool to reach out to your network and engage with them through virtual conversation when it’s too uncertain to meet them in person.
3. Virtual meeting tools:
We have seen a trend that cloud video conferencing is a smart way of having meetings now when the coronavirus is so uncertain. Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom can help you collaborate and connect with team members and existing clients when in-person engagements isn’t possible. Google has also given free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video conferencing. Webcams give you the possibility to see and still connect to your co-workers and customers on a more personal level whilst still being safe of infections.
The coronavirus experiment in working from home
The COVID-19 outbreak is putting remote work to a gigantic test, the consequences of it all will probably continue for a long time. Some people are probably celebrating the opportunity to get laundry done between emails and eating home-cooked lunch, and others (especially those working in retail, real estate, manufacturing, health care and face to face customer based jobs) are barely hanging in there. We would like to applaud them and let them know that we appreciate everything that they do so we can continue to live as well as we can.
Time Magazine called the coronavirus outbreak the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment”. True enough, organisations are taking this opportunity to test the working from home experiment to scale. They are experimenting with different ways to function as a team and trying even to boost productivity when you are not sharing the same physical space. They are holding off in-person engagements, and instead opt for a digital experience to make sure their staff is safe.
Communication, individualisation and setting up expectations is key to making this panic-ridden experiment a success. Business is plummeting rapidly in more or less every sector, this might also mean there isn’t enough work to do- neither from home, nor from the office. To try to make this panic a bit easier, we recommend setting up goals, focus on communication and see the individuals of the companies. This is a big experience and experiment for not just your company but for everyone out there.
No one could predict the outcome of COVID-19, it has rapidly confused and startled us. We all have had to adjust to implications of what the Corona virus has come with. We need to take this time to slow down and think of strategies, build more solid and sustainable foundations and focus on what’s important for our companies and for the future.
Looking ahead in the aftermath of coronavirus
Panic and caos is an affect of rumours and whispers, don’t let it get the better of you.
If you are feeling ill or if anyone around you is experiencing mild or moderate symptoms, isolate yourself and talk to your doctor. Stay safe and follow the protection measures recommended by WHO:
- Wear a fresh face mask if you go out in an area with confirmed cases of coronavirus infections.
- Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub frequently and for at least 20 seconds. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid travelling to places, especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
- Avoid public transport
- Steer clear of the COVID-19 hotspots- cities or local areas where the disease is known to be spreading quickly.
As long as you have good basic hygiene and follow the above mentioned protection measures, you will be at a lower risk of contracting the virus.
Stay safe, and maintain social distance. Remember, we are all in this together.