Telecommuting Impact in the COVID-19 Environment

SENEDIA reached out to its member companies with a short survey on the impact of the telecommuting in the COVID-19 environment.  Below is a summary of the responses. Overall, the great majority were able to efficiently and effectively operate in this environment.  Of note, several have developed telecommuting and disaster operation plans, which they did not previously have.

1.  Has your company been able to work effectively in this telecommuting environment?
95% positive response to working effectively in a telecommuting environment.

  • No major challenges – one initial minor situation was the number of users on VPN.
  • Challenges have to do with technicians/engineers, IT support staff, security, cleaning staff, etc., who must work on-site for some amount of time each week. But with most of the office telecommuting, they have been able to maintain a safe distance and wear masks as needed.
  • Some slight tension of “haves” and “have nots” (those who have the perceived “luxury” of working from home, not commuting) and those who are not able to (pier side work, shipyard, classified spaces,  customer not allowing any official work on their program, even if unclassified, to be done in a non-DoD office environment).

2.  Did you already have e-filing and video teleconferencing solutions that were being used prior to the COVID-19 telecommuting environment?
100% positive response – already had capability. Noted that video teleconferencing not an option in all cases due to DoD cyber requirements

3.  What e-file and video teleconferencing solutions do you use?

  • Microsoft Teams
  • GoToMeeting
  • Skype for Business
  • Sharepoint
  • Zoom
  • One Drive
  • Webex
  • Dropbox

4.  What major lessons learned/best practices have evolved for your organization from this telecommuting environment?

  • Telecommuting allowed employees to be more productive and get more done since no commuting.
  • Effectively utilized all the e-file and video teleconferencing platforms.
  • Caution to not overwork – step away from phones/laptops for mental breaks.
  • With some limitations – telecommuting can be done effectively without apparent impact to productivity.
  • Will be more flexible with remote work in future. Need to balance – having minimum number of people at work with ensuring cleanliness and hygiene standards are maintained.
  • Communication is key – quick updates from staff at the supervisor/employee level. More infrequent mid-upper management phone/video meetings, emails, etc.
  • We can do it – but for a business to thrive there needs to be physical interaction that generates ideas and energy.
  • Reach out continuously to the dispersed, remote workforce. Do it in personal matters and not just for work. Don’t overdo the “team” activities (Zoom happy hours, online contests, …). Balance the mix.
  • Communicate constantly on the environment and what the business is doing to address it. Reinforce for folks to make a hard line between work and personal/family time while Work from Home is the primary environment.
  • Now have a formal telework policy.
  • Now have a formal disaster recovery plan.
  • We can hire anywhere in the US now. Get more done as we don’t have to commute, especially balancing pressures with family and work. Non-production personnel can work remotely with great effectiveness.