Member News

Working From Home and Successfully Managing through a Pandemic (Especially with a Long Distance HO)

June 10, 2020 | By Len Adams CPC, CTS  CEO ACG Resources/Adams Consulting Group, LLC

In March, the entire world was turned upside down due to the Covid19 crisis. As it relates to the workforce, companies were in turmoil as shelter in place polices were implemented in most cities and states. Employers that had not previously adopted a WFH policy needed to scramble to set up the proper technology, policies, etc. This may have been especially true for companies in the US with European HQ. I can only imagine the difficulty in reporting to a HO overseas and trying to manage a remote staff simultaneously.

My firm was one of the lucky ones in this regard. When I started my firm, ACG Resources, 18 years ago, I was very fortunate to be an early adapter of WFH.  To be honest, when I first started, it was only me. I rented space and after several months, realized that I was commuting to the city to sit in an office and speak with clients and candidates over the phone and send and receive emails. My personal interactions were always by appointment only. Being newly self -employed, I took the opportunity to schedule my in person activities for certain days, and quickly realized that the other days I could be as productive at home.   Over the course of time, as I hired additional staff, I started offering them the opportunity to work from home.  We had implemented, at the time, new software that was hosted offsite, and set up a VOIP telephone system. In doing so, my growing team had the tools necessary to operate efficiently.  The harder part was learning how to manage a team that was not in the office on a daily basis. I accomplished that by making sure that we all communicated everyday on a frequent basis, as if we were sitting in the office next door to each other.

This was the basis for enabling me to operate this way for the past 18 years. Communication, Efficiency, Software tools and hiring the right people. If one trusts their staff (and trust is a two way street), they will act accordingly. In my opinion, we will see more and more of this as a result of this pandemic. Now that employers and employees have seen how they can effectively operate, I believe this will become more of the norm than before.

It is important that companies from Europe (or anywhere in the world) that have operations in the US adopt a strong communications policy, both with their internal staff and HO to ensure that there is a two way trust factor. Remote is the same, whether it is 2 miles or 3000 miles away.

On these lines, I am often asked how has it been getting through this pandemic as a business owner.  I have been through numerous recessions, 9/11, Super storm Sandy, etc.  None of those events prepared me for COVID 19.

In previous events, business slowed down a bit for a short period of time and we knew that there would be an end and business would get back toe sense of normalcy.

In this case, however, business did not slow down. It came to a screeching halt for everyone!

Rather than go into complete panic mode however, I instead went into crisis survival mode.

I took stock of our business, cash flow, and staff.  I communicated with my staff and ensured that that we will survive this.  As a business leader, no matter how frightened or unsure I was, I needed to make sure that my staff was assured of survival. Since business was stopped, we changed every staff members responsibilities to perform more research and reach out functions. There is an old saying that when a fisherman can’t fish, he repairs the net.  This is basically what we have done for the past two months. Improved our database, reached out to clients and candidates to check in, reached out to new prospects just to check in, not to aggressively market. Just planting seeds for when the crisis ends. My crisis survival instinct is to just put my head down, put the blinders on and forge through.  I firmly believe that we will emerge from this crisis in the near future. We will be operating in anew normal, perhaps a bit smarter, more cautious and definitely more aware of how fragile life and business can be.

Compliments of Len Adams at ACG Resources – a member of the EACCNY.