March 25, 2020 | 5 Min
COVID-19: Keeping your content moving
The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting the lives of billions of people worldwide. Retailers are facing unprecedented challenges and revenues from ecommerce are more important than ever in a world where bricks and mortar stores are being closed overnight and whole countries are locked down.
The teams delivering these experiences face a new set of challenges - remote working is increasingly becoming the norm as businesses seek to reduce the risk of infection and the reality is that we will all need to manage the absence of key team members as the population copes with infection.
During this period there are a number of concrete steps your team can take to mitigate these challenges and keep your content moving:
It's obvious but make sure everyone has access to the tools they need. If you’re not working from home already, run a test by closing physical office locations to ensure there are no hidden blockers to your team working remotely – if you have on-prem software then VPN access often catches people out. Make sure you are set up to collaborate– at Amplience we make extensive use of tools like Slack, Box and Zoom to facilitate remote working.
Establish a remote working routine with your team. Daily stand-ups are a great way of keeping everyone pulling towards the same goal. Regular touch points are more important than ever when working remotely.
Double-down on communication – in particular make sure your team are set up to do video calls as opposed to just voice. During unsettling times like these, maintaining face-to-face connections and a sense of community is more important than ever. Schedule regular one-to-ones and encourage as much collaboration as possible.
Document your process. Ensure you capture key activities, actors, handoffs and review points. Quick narrated screen recordings are a great way to do this. We often ask customers to record their process in this way for research purposes – a narrated screen record is very quick to do and super easy for somebody else to pick up in order to get up to speed quickly.
Prioritise. Identify which of your activities are essential, and which could be deprioritised if necessary. Making these decisions upfront makes it much easier cope in a crisis.
Identify risks – are there any tasks that are only done by one person? Where are your pinch points? This is where you need to focus your mitigation efforts – either by identifying other colleagues who could step in or via knowledge share – see below.
Share the knowledge – make sure your docs and videos are accessible and that everyone is aware of the plan.
Become more ‘t-shaped’. A long-time tenant of agile software development but equally applicable to content production –being ‘t-shaped’ means being an expert in one thing but capable in many – and will make your team much more resilient. In practical terms ask your team to buddy up with a colleague and walk through the critical elements of each other’s roles so you can temporarily cover each other in a pinch. Using a modern CMS such as Dynamic Content makes this easier as business users can create, schedule and publish content without specialist technical skills.
Use the tools available in your CMS to drive your remote workflow. In Dynamic Content workflow states can be utilised to move content through build and review processes and the assignee feature to direct tasks to the appropriate team members. Integrations with external collaboration tools can be particularly effective – for example notifications via email or chat when content is assigned or ready for review or when campaigns are published.
- Get in touch with your suppliers to ask for their help and advice – it’s in their interest for you to succeed and in times like these it’s important we all work together. Our Customer Success team is already reaching out to our clients proactively - travel restrictions may restrict us from seeing you in person but we’re there to support you all the way!
Finally, and most importantly, stay safe and look after the health and wellbeing of those around you. The coming weeks will see us all facing emotional and potentially physical challenges in addition to those posed by business.
At Amplience we are actively encouraging non-work communication and activities in work time (not all the time obviously!) and total flexibility in working hours so that our teams can take care of what's important in their personal lives. Speaking for myself it makes a big difference knowing your employer has your back.