17th March 2020, Sydney Australia – Professional Advantage (PA) has recently rolled out its COVID-19 (coronavirus) Readiness Plan across its eight regional offices in Australia, United Kingdom, United States, and the Philippines. This involved its staff of more than two hundred and fifty working remotely from home for both a single day, and multi-day office closure to test the company’s ability to do business as usual in this challenging time.
This initiative was enacted by the team behind ‘Project Prepared’, Professional Advantage’s response plan and initiative in line with the COVID-19 situation. The recent events have meant that many organisations have been preparing for scenarios around government-imposed community quarantine; the inability to travel or meet clients onsite; or closing the office for an extended time. All of these would require the entire workforce to work remotely for the business to continue as usual.
Project Prepared was spearheaded by PA’s Managing Director, Derek Rippingale. Joining him in the task force are key stakeholders from various groups within Professional Advantage such as IT, Finance, Project Management, Support, and Sales and Marketing to ensure that all concerns from different areas of the business are covered and addressed. The team made preparations for its roll out commencing in February and successfully implemented it on 4th March 2020.
“Providing a safe working environment for our people whilst still being able to continuously provide uninterrupted services to our clients were top priorities for us when we planned for this initiative. We wanted to test our ability to maintain business as usual despite all of us working from home, and to see if our systems would be able to hold up with everyone connecting remotely,” said Professional Advantage Managing Director, Derek Rippingale.
The team’s careful planning, daily stand ups, constant communication, and utilisation of Microsoft Office 365 were key to the successful rollout of the fire drill. Office 365 applications such as Microsoft Teams for communication and collaboration; Forms for online surveys; and Yammer for general announcements made it easier for the task force to act on what needed to be done. Combined with other technologies such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), remote desktop connection in Windows, and a soft phone, employees still had access to the applications that they need.
“The fire drill prepared us to work from home as effectively as if we were in the office . Our people have the necessary hardware, suitable workplace environment, and applications that they need to stay productive. It proved that we have the technologies, processes, and procedures in place and that our systems are ready for what the future has in store for us with this global pandemic”, said Rippingale.
You can read about the company’s preparation, experiences, and lessons learned as part of its COVID-19 readiness plan in this blog here.