The coronavirus - an unprecedented global health crisis that is taking a serious toll on human lives, has been ravaging Europe for more than a month and rapidly spreading across the world. Some countries have taken a harder hit so far, and everyone is coping with the new reality in their own unique way.
Companies have to revise the plans and strategies for 2020. Some industries like travel and hospitality took a harder blow, and others, including IT companies, still face a lot of financial dangers.
Both clients who already have software development partners in Macedonia and those who are only considering finding their software partner here might have a lot of questions about the current state of the coronavirus outbreak in Macedonia? Is it safe to outsource to Macedonia now? How are Macedonian IT companies adapting to the changes? We’ve tried to answer these and a few other questions.
How Macedonia prevents the coronavirus from spreading?
Our country wasn’t among the first affected. The spread of the virus was slow so the country was able to take precautionary measures soon. We acted fast and within two weeks after the first confirmed case, both the authorities and businesses took drastic but necessary actions to prevent the speed of the disease - from closing schools to travel bans.
This quick reaction helped us to prevent lasting effects on the people and businesses When talking about the economic impact, it is clear that not everyone will get through this. And although our IT service companies are used to working with distributed teams and have necessary infrastructures and processes for surviving the quarantine, they will suffer the impact like any other business in our global connected world.
How we, at iborn.net, cope with the COVID-19 impact?
Because the virus began earlier in Western Europe, a lot of companies felt the impact of the outbreak weeks before the outbreak in our country. So we at iborn.net started business continuity planning early on. Our top priority was to keep all our employees, clients and partners healthy and safe. Also, it was vital for us to continue delivering results to our clients as efficiently as ever and keep our high-quality standards.
Like all other Macedonian IT companies, we started preparing our infrastructure, tools, and processes even before the quarantine started in Macedonia.
Specific preventive measures we took at iborn.net to keep our people safe
We introduced specific working procedures and adjusted them to the current situation. Even before the quarantine was introduced in Macedonia, we had taken the following steps to keep our employees safe:
- Switched to the working-from-home mode,as fast as possible
- Providing help to employees on a business trip, and make sure we get them home safe, as soon as airports were starting to shutdown;
- Introducing a 14-day quarantine after trips abroad.
- Avoiding personal and business travels, replacing them with remote meetings.
Actions your business should take during the outbreak
As a software company we know how to deal with uncertainty, we are agile and easily adaptable to changes. Today we are all facing a totally new threat but here are the key steps you should take to keep running:
- Come up with a business continuity plan
Even if we fight the coronavirus outbreak in the next few months all businesses will feel its impact long after it’s gone. Therefore a long-term plan is a must, for the next 3 to 6 months, and maybe even way into 2021. Adapt this plan, frequently, on a weekly basis.
- Communicate with your staff
One of the most important things is to keep communicating with your employees as usual. Your people understand that unprecedented times need unprecedented actions. Many of them are likely concerned about their health, but also about their job position. You need to be open about what is happening, what your clients are doing, and what the company is doing to stay up and continue working. Keep your current company rituals, adapt them to the new situation. Introduce more frequent communication with customers, try to adapt and help them take immediate action if they are hit hard. Agree on percentage margins shifts, and introduce different options to help each other get out of this stronger and continue working at the same pace. Lower costs for non-essential items. Introduce new rituals and communication channels among colleagues. Keep each other in sync, customers, colleagues, we are in this together, and we will get out stronger together!
- Invest in work-from-home technology
Setting up remote work processes can be a real challenge both for companies and for employees. As a company, you should start by analyzing your infrastructure and asking your employees about what they need to switch to the remote. While most people nowadays are likely to have a laptop and a good internet connection, some may have problems with the setup of the collaboration tools, such as internal communication programs or secure Wi-Fi networks, VPN access, and secure access to remote systems. So, make sure everything works fine before launching the work-from-home model. Google’s G Suite, with the collaborative Google docs, sheet, and hangouts can be very handy for this, Redmine helps even more now, Teamtailor, Trello, and Invision as well.
- Stay optimistic and we’ll get through this together
The world will never be the same after this pandemic, but we need to keep our positive attitude and look at every risk as an opportunity. Companies that embrace the new reality, reshape their strategies and adapt their processes today, will be able to use opportunities of the new world. Keep marching forward with determination and hope, stay effective, get things done and take care of your health. Together, we’ll get through this. Hey, we might even make some profit, if we get things right, fast, agile and with excellent customer service and human touch to the things we do with our customers and partners. At least this has not changed at all during this crisis.
Get in touch with us to share experiences, tools and your approach to this situation. We would love to hear from everybody.