As the coronavirus spreads and with a growing number of confirmed cases in the US, several companies are canceling conferences, trade shows, unnecessary business travel, and initiating remote work policies.

IBM, which three years ago dismantled its remote work policy for thousands of its remote workers in the U.S., has now asked workers in coronavirus-affected areas (currently China, Japan, South Korea, and Italy) to work from home “wherever possible.” IBM is also making contingency plans for its US locations. China has seen significant growth in remote work since the novel virus originated in Wuhan, Eastern China, late last year with major companies like Facebook and Apple temporarily shutting down their China offices.

CDC: Ensure You Are Ready to Support Remote Work

Last week, Dr Nancy Messonier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, advised U.S. businesses to begin making similar preparations “for the possible spread of #COVID19 (the World Health Organization’s official name for the disease) within the US. CDC officials have been saying for weeks that while they hope its spread won’t be severe in the US, they are planning as if it could be.

The official advice from the CDC states, “For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.”

Increasing Reliance on Digital Collaboration Tools

Amidst this landscape of reduced business travel and increasing number of employees working from home, reliance on digital collaboration tools like Slack, Teams, and Zoom is increasing. Zoom company officials have said they’ve seen more active users in the first two months of 2020 than in the entirety of last year due to corporate concerns about the spread of coronavirus. In a blog post explicitly speaking to the situation, CEO Eric Yuan outlined how the video conferencing software company was providing resources and support during this time, including lifting the 40-minute limit on meetings with over two users for free users in China and proactively monitoring their servers “to ensure maximum reliability amid any capacity increases.”

Manage the Digital Employee Experience

What can companies do to prepare for an increased remote workforce? In addition to expanding digital upskilling and training efforts, and ensuring employees have the digital infrastructure they need in place to work from home, companies need to ensure they can provide an exceptional user experience of the SaaS collaboration tools and platforms they will be relying on. What if there are performance or reachability issues with that SaaS tooling? How will you troubleshoot to ensure productivity? How will you have the insight you need? 

Poorly performing digital applications, especially those which employees rely on daily, can have a corrosive impact on the culture of an organization, not to mention the potential loss of revenue due to reduced productivity.

Benefits of SaaS Experience Monitoring for Remote Workers

Companies can gain insight into the performance of SaaS tools through active testing from an outside-in perspective. Monitoring SaaS applications is very different from monitoring applications and infrastructure that you own. You can’t install agents and JS tags on SaaS platforms. Instead, they must be monitored from the same locations and devices as the users accessing the tools. The same technology that powers Catchpoint’s largest public monitoring network used by the largest enterprises to monitor customer experience, can be deployed in every office location to proactively monitor the quality of employee experience and the reachability, availability, performance, and reliability of SaaS apps.

Gain End-to-End Visibility into Digital Employee Experience

Catchpoint Endpoint Monitoring, gives you full visibility and insight into what your end users are experiencing through a browser extension and lightweight companion application running in the background of your employee’s device. This means you can track in real-time the exact experiences employees are having as they interact with SaaS or proprietary applications.

Catchpoint’s interactive dashboard, Smartboard, allows you to identify and troubleshoot issues affecting performance within a single view. Through a range of visualizations, you can pinpoint the exact path and file that is failing, understand which host is causing the problem and identify its actual IP address. Additionally, Endpoint Monitoring provides insight into contextual information: what else is on the employee’s device? Who else is experiencing a problem?

Combined with historical data on a SaaS application’s performance at a global, local and device level, organizations can be certain that they can quickly mitigate, resolve, and proactively prevent service disruptions.

Track your SLAs

With the likelihood of more business-critical operations being conducted between a remote workforce than usual, and for a potentially extended period due to the lack of certainty around how long the coronavirus scare may last, this is an important time to track your Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Using Cathpoint’s neutral source of accurate metrics, you can share detailed, root-cause analysis with your providers to hold them accountable.  Tracking your SLAs allow you to ensure that all third-party vendors are meeting promised levels of service and hold vendors financially responsible for any service disruption that impacts your employees.