Growing up a snowstorm meant a whole day of freedom to sleep in and play in the snow. Thanks to today’s technology, the same cannot be said for us grown-ups during bad weather work days. While you might miss the snowball fights (who doesn’t) you and your colleagues can keep projects on schedule from the comfort of your own homes without thinking twice about braving the elements.
With winter in full swing, here are some tips to get prepared for the next storm on the radar. You and your team can stay connected and productive – and maybe even wrap up work early enough to join the kids outside!
Leverage cloud-based collaboration platforms.
The growth in the remote workforce has certainly been stimulated by the availability of cloud platforms that provide everything from project management, file-sharing, online meetings, document editing, and more. Everyone can work on the same page with the most recent and relevant information, no matter where they are. If you aren’t already using these types of software in your day-to-day, you should absolutely consider leveraging them as backup for the unexpected, like storms or sick days. These platforms offer businesses a low-cost or even free way to maintain connectivity and productivity despite physical location. If a storm hits quickly and your team is stranded at home during a day of a big meeting or client review, GoToMeeting offers a free trial for 14 days that you can start using instantly. You don’t have to make any huge investments or commitments just to keep your meetings for the day.
Plan ahead for workflow continuity.
Meteorologists usually give us some advance notice for snowstorms. While they’re not always perfect, even a day or two of notice will give you a chance for some contingency planning if the weather turns too difficult or dangerous for travel. Get your team together to discuss what work might be impacted if the whole team is stuck at home, and brainstorm other ways to get it done. Make sure everyone brings home the devices, tools or documents they need to keep things moving. That way, if the storm is as bad as your local channel predicts and you lose connectivity for a bit, everyone has their marching orders. Use project management tools your team can access from home or their mobile devices to keep track of “plan B”. Traffic may crawl to a stop because of the snow, but not your team’s productivity.
Get your devices and backup batteries charged.
Before a storm hits, it’s always a smart idea to get everything charged up! Keep your computer and phone plugged-in as much as possible, and power up all your external batteries and wireless chargers. Not only will it prove helpful if the power is flickering while you’re trying to work from home, but you’ll be prepared in case the storm gets really intense. The last thing you want is a dead phone and a dead portable charger during a really bad storm.
Invest in WiFi hotspots.
Most of today’s smartphones have a hotspot mode, which definitely come in handy when in a pinch. But a standalone mobile WiFi device is definitely worth the investment to keep your team connected in unexpected situations. There are all types of WiFi hotspots to choose from, with the stability and strength to connect everything from laptops to a tablet or any other WiFi enabled device. With many usage-based or subscription plan options, Nationwide connectivity may be a relatively inexpensive cost to keep your team members covered during just the stormiest months of the year.
Serve a buffet of meeting options.
One of the most convenient features of GoToMeeting are the numerous ways you can connect to a meeting. With toll-free conferencing options, global dial-in numbers for over 60 countries, and free VoIP, you can get connected in a way that’s most convenient for you no matter where you are or what’s going on around you! You can dial-in on your laptop, home phone, smartphone, tablet… you name it, you can do it. Plus, video, chat and screen-sharing capabilities are available across all mobile devices too. So if the storm comes in so quickly that you’re stuck at home without your laptop, you can still stay connected in one way or another. No meetings have to be postponed until after the storm passes, and the team doesn’t fall behind schedule.