Supporting our employees while navigating the new normal

Many companies are navigating new ways of working during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our CEO, Ann Barnes, shares IMO’s strategy for keeping our employees and clients supported during this unprecedented time.

I know I am not the only leader who has looked back at the last few weeks with disbelief about where we are versus where we thought we would be. As a health IT company, we certainly thought last week would be spent in HIMSS20 recovery, having follow-up meetings, and sharing stories of experiences in Orlando.

Instead, my team spent the week transitioning most of our employees to a remote work setup, embarking on major product updates critical for our clients on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, and salvaging our HIMSS20 plans with some creative marketing to make up the difference. What a week.

As for our workforce, which is my biggest priority as CEO, our executive leadership took some crucial steps to make the transition to remote working as smooth as possible. We named our Vice President of Enterprise IT & Security as our COVID-19 czar to lead IMO’s company-wide business continuity planning efforts and quickly build a team of decision makers. We created an internal homepage so employees could easily access our latest updates and need-to-know information. We established resources to help support our workforce – providing both tips for working from home and a stipend for technology purchases – since for many, this is a new way to work.

The Business Continuity Team also moved quickly to educate our managers on how to help employees through this transition. I am a huge believer in empowering our managers and having them be on the front lines with their teams. Managers must be onboard with continuity plans in order to ensure our people can share valuable feedback on how things are really going in our new virtual work reality.

Finally, we tried to build some fun into this time of uncertainty. We have company-wide chat channels open where people are sharing pictures of their families, dogs, and work from home setups. We are holding mindfulness sessions over video conference, because we know that managing stress and mental health is important right now. Some teams are considering virtual happy hours. Overall, we are committed to creating an environment for our employees that not only supports the work they are doing, but also allows them to have some needed respite throughout the day during this challenging time.

The next few weeks are going to be a trying time for many of us. Keeping our employees supported and centered is critical to our business for the foreseeable future. We will continuously be looking for ways to learn from this experience and hopefully become a stronger team because of it. As IMO navigates these unprecedented waters, we wish nothing but the best for you and your teams.

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