Coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus: Managing (and pivoting) during a crisis

Updated: If you weren’t entirely prepared for COVID-19, you’re not alone. Ensuring business continuity in crisis management mode requires the right mix of technology, patience and agility. This collection of Insider Pro articles may help.

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Updated: May 15, 2020

In Insider Pro's podcast, Tech Career Ladder, career coach Ryan Halverson discusses how overcoming uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges and frustrations of the coronavirus pandemic. Using a road race analogy, Halverson talks about how we all started out thinking we were running a 5K, but as we approached the finish line we learned it was 10K, which turned into a half marathon. No, wait it's a marathon but may actually be an ultra marathon.

While we can't ignore isolation and changes to our routines (or the fact that the finish line isn't yet in sight), Halverson points out that  we may just learn that our resiliency and ability to manage is more powerful than we thought.  It’s also a chance -- albeit an unwelcome chance -- to slow down, reconnect with family and friends, and take stock of who you want to be when you come out the other side.

Stress test for IT

It's hard to think of the rush to a remote workforce as an opportunity, but Insider Pro columnist Jack Gold says now is the time to evaluate how this stress test for IT has gone. Gold looks at five lessons we should have learned around topics such as application scalability, collaboration, connectivity, security and support.

"Use this time to build out a strategy," Gold suggests,  "so you won’t have to use Band-Aids and duct tape next time."

COVID-19, 5G and conspiracrcy theories

Theories around the dangers of 5G abounded before the coronavirus, but now there's a whole new reason to fear 5G, and it's as dangerous as it is dumb, notes Insider Pro columnist Mike Elgan. "One of the most common (and also dumbest) false rumors is that the symptoms caused by COVID-19 are actually caused by 5G towers, and that the coronavirus crisis is a fiction designed to cover up the role of 5G in harming health."

While COVID-19 may be giving conspiracy theorists one more reason to fear 5G, there's one way 5G adoption may gain from the pandemic, Elgan writes. 

"The coronavirus pandemic has shocked large enterprises into an acknowledgement of the total dependency and necessity of high-performance networking. This is as true in manufacturing, services, telecommunications, automotive, robotics and other sectors as it is in healthcare, where the need for 5G has become glaringly obvious.

As the days of lockdowns and social distancing drag on, tech winners and losers are emerging. Contributor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes, "We've been finding out the hard way what technologies work well when subjected to a real-world disaster and which, well, aren't up to snuff."

Updated: April 21, 2020

COVID-19 has forced nonessential workers to their home offices. Of course, not every employee was equipped to work from home, leaving some IT departments scrambing to ensure workers were safe, productive and in touch with colleagues.  As the coronavirus continues to impact the health, business operations and economies of the world, Insider Pro's ongoing coverage aims to keep you well-informed as you react to technology and leadership challenges. 

While tech giants have their own revenue, shareholders and employees to worry about, it's encouraging to see the industry step up and open up its products and services during the pandemic. For example, as part of the Open COVID Pledge, IBM is offering its patent portfolio to those "developing technologies to help diagnose, prevent, contain or treat" COVID-19.  IBM says the pledge covers thousands of AI patents, including Watson technology, and more than 900 active U.S. patents in the general area of biological viruses.

In a blog posted yesterday, Mark Ringes, vice president, assistant general counsel, wrote, "IBM’s pledge will last for the life of our more than 80,000 patents and patent applications, and any new patent applications filed through the end of 2023 will likewise be covered by this commitment."

IBM joins Amazon, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Sandia National Laboratories in the pledge.

No one could blame you for not keeping a positive attitude during the current coronavirus crisis. After all, every facet of your life has changed, but if you listen to Insider Pro's latest podcast, executive coach Ryan Halverson will help you learn how to come out of this stronger, even if it doesn’t feel that way now. He describes that while the pandemic feels like "a punch in the face," it’s also a chance to slow down, reconnect with family and friends, and take stock of who you want to be.

While the world waits for a COVID-19 vaccine, technology -- wearable technology to be more precise -- maybe our best chance limit the virus being passed.  Insider Pro columnist writes that, "Smartwatches and fitness trackers already harvest data about the resting heart rate and sleep patterns of millions of users. More-advanced devices measure body temperature. When the human body is fighting infection, the resting heart rate is slightly elevated (easiest to gauge during sleep) and the body temperature rises. Individually, this data could tell you a little. In aggregate, they tell you a lot -- specifically, they can offer the earliest possible warning of a flu or coronavirus out in a city, region or country."

More COVID-19 coverage on Insider Pro

Last week, contributor Sharon Goldman covered what the IT job landscape will look like in the coming months and offers some tips on how to be best-prepared in these unpredcedented times. "The industry is bracing for bigger changes to come, including reduced or delayed hiring, or even layoffs, particularly in hard-hit industries such as travel, hotels and restaurants," Goldman writes. "On the other hand, some of the largest sectors employing IT workers may even see increased demand in some areas, including healthcare, financial services, government and data-driven technologies."

Bob Violino rounds up 10 free collaboration tools vendors such as Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft and others are making available in response to this global crisis. 

And while you may have taken that first (giant) step of getting your workforce set up to work remotely, now you have to meet the next challenge: managing a new, virtual environment. Paul Heltzel writes that "keeping things running smoothly requires a mix of the right technology, while maintaining your office’s culture even at a distance."

If you weren't collaborating before ...

Creating an environment that fosters online collaboration and an efficient remote worker strategy is hardly a new concept. Whether it’s to accommodate the needs of a more diverse workforce, attract the best tech talent regardless of location or communicate with offices around the world,  flexibility and agility are ingredients to a productive digital workforce.

The need for that collaborative, mobile workforce just acceralated. The rapidly expanding impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus is rewarding companies that have prepared and have the needed applications, infrastructure and polices in place. The payoff is a smoother transition during this period of crisis management. That said, few companies can be truly prepared for pandemic.

If you’re in need of collaboration tools, remote worker policies or general advice for how to manage in trying times and maintain operational continuity, check out some of the articles below. We’ll continue to add new articles to the list as the coronavirus continues to present us with what are arguably unprecedented challenges. 

More COVID-19 coverage on Insider Pro

Technology winners and losers in the days of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic is revealing just where our technology is up to the challenge and where it's failing.

Conspiracy theories slow public 5G adoption (but private 5G gets a boost)

When radio waves, viruses and tin foil hats collide. How the coronavirus crisis is changing how, where and why 5G is being deployed.

5 lessons companies should learn about working at home

Companies now have the opportunity to learn from what is and isn’t working during the coronavirus crisis. Use this time to build out a strategy so you won’t have to use band aids and duct tape next time.

Wearables get their killer app: saving you from killer viruses

Until now, smart watches, rings and glasses offered useful features, but were optional -- that's changing fast. Soon our lives and businesses will depend on them.

Podcast : Survive and thrive during the Covid-19 crisis

Listen now as executive coach Ryan Halverson offers advice on how to manage your career (and your life) during the coronavirus pandemic and how to excel after it.

IT hiring trends: What to expect now and in the months to come

Given the uncertainty that the coronavirus is bringing to all facets of our lives, you're probably wondering how it will affect your career. Do layoffs loom? Will certain roles see higher demand? How are companies handling interviewing and on-boarding? Plus, what should you be doing today?

Videoconferencing vendors meet demands with free versions

As COVID-19 forces workers to remote offices, videoconferencing is becoming a lifeblood of business. These free videoconferencing offerings can help you meet the demand of the new work-at-home norm.

8 tips for managing a remote workforce

No one expects a pandemic, but those who created contingency plans are easing into the transition. For the rest of us, here are eight ways to keep things running smoothly while ensuring your approach reflects the reality of the epidemic and gauges how your employees are faring during the crisis.

How the coronavirus pandemic will change business culture forever

Enterprise and business technology (and how we use it) is about to change – in permanent, society-altering ways. It’s our generation’s Great Depression.

How to protect yourself from coronavirus phishing threats

The worst disease of the century brings out the worst in people as phishing attacks increase to unprecedented levels. Here's how to spot and avoid COVID-19 phishing attacks.

Can technology save the retail supply chain?

In the age of coronavirus, technology is playing a big role in boosting resilience but it’s also meeting its match (and no, it’s not just about toilet paper)

How to protect remote workers from the coronavirus crime wave

As predicted, the coronavirus crisis is bringing out the worst in cybercriminals. But the attacks are really just old exploits modified to exploit the new coronavirus context. Here’s how to beat them.

How remote access tools can help your businesses adapt to the coronavirus

Coronavirus has created unprecedented challenges for companies and their employees across the globe and remote access tools are helping them meet them.

Don’t let the coronavirus make you a home office security risk

Congratulations. You're now the chief security officer of your company’s newest branch office: Your home. Here's how to manage your new job.

14 ways CIOs can show leadership during the COVID-19 crisis

What steps should CIOs be taking to help their organizations immediately weather this crisis? Fourteen CIOs share their thoughts.

COVID-19 and tech: New collaboration tools mean new security risks

As the coronavirus forces companies to move their communication and file sharing onto collaboration platforms, be prepared for unintended consequences: New security threats will surface, requiring new methods of securing your environment.

Coronavirus: What companies are ready for our new reality?

One class of companies is already equipped to work in a fully distributed employee model. Another going to have a difficult time adapting to most employees having to work from home. Some won’t survive if this lasts more than a few weeks.

What your business can do about the coronavirus ... right now

The Covid-19 crisis is the Black Swan event of our lifetime. Here's how to hold it all together (while keeping employees apart).

How the coronavirus is changing tech and 5 things to do about it

Due to the Covid-19 virus, some tech-culture trends are radically accelerating. Others are being reversed. And it's happening all at once. Here's what you need to know.

4 tips for picking the right collaboration suite

Research shows that workplace technology actually impedes your employees' ability to work in a timely manner and makes it more difficult to collaborate. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are four ways to choose the right collaboration tools.

How to build a collaboration environment for a changing workforce

By 2025, most workers will be millennials. These ‘digital natives’ will have a major impact on how collaboration takes place – and it won’t involve walking next door to an office to collaborate.

Why your company needs a BYOO (bring your own office) policy

Remote work is not a trend. It’s there to stay. Insider Pro columnist Mike Elgan explains why it's time to re-orient your organization's thinking around workshifting and BYOO.

How to combine project management and collaboration

A look at several products that offer both chat and project management in one interface so that conversations can be turned into workflow, milestones, calendar entries and other actionable items.

Can you be mobile AND secure?

Despite the security challenges mobile devices create, there is no going back. Users demand corporate access from their smartphones and companies benefit from this access with increased efficiency, better use of time and improved user experience. Here's how to be safe and mobile.

How to develop a mobile policy

Why you need to sweat the details and avoid a far-reaching (too broad) policy when it comes to managing mobile devices. 
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