Adapting to the ‘New Normal’ and a Remote Workforce
Posted by Diana Hennel, SVP, CTO, Catalyst Corporate FCU on 3/26/2020

More than just providing a laptop

In a short amount of time, the entire country has had to start adjusting to the “new normal.” Businesses and schools have shut their doors. Medical supplies and home goods are in short supply. And, terms such as “social distancing,” “flattening the curve” and “stay in place” have now been added to our daily vocabulary. Additionally, the businesses that are open have moved to supporting a remote workforce.

In preparation for unforeseen circumstances such as this, most financial institutions have published a disaster recovery plan, as well as a pandemic plan – both of whichAdapting to a Remote Workforce have been tabletop-tested. But until now, the majority of these plans have not been tested in the real world. As organizations transition to remote work environments, they’re facing a new set of challenges and considerations.

Technological challenges

Topping the list are bandwidth (or lack of) – which impacts the ability to issue VPN (virtual private network) access to all remote workers – and supporting an unprecedented number of conference and video calls on software that many employees may not know how to use. Equipment that’s not already on hand may not be available. Help desks are overwhelmed with requests, and teams are resorting to daily triage calls to prioritize. Credit unions must balance supporting remote work with the ever-present security that is even more important in a distributed world.

Operational challenges

Operational challenges are also at play. How do you handle software solutions that are restricted to specific IP addresses? And what if a worker left a required token at the office? Critical staff members may be sick and unable to work. And, temporary closure of schools and daycares could put a strain on employees as they attempt to balance work with managing children who can’t go to daycare or who need help with online schooling.

The good news? Credit unions are uniquely positioned to shine.

“People helping people.” More than just a motto, this founding principle is the common thread that has united credit unions for decades. Now, more than ever, credit unions have the ability to remind members of this mission, despite the many challenges and uncertainties present at this time.

It starts by ensuring that both members and employees receive the emotional support they need. Constant, clear communication is the key to success. From an internal standpoint, this could mean something as simple as conducting daily calls to allow for additional team interaction. And, when it comes to external efforts, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Perhaps creating designated social networking channels could serve as another valuable communication touchpoint and deepen member relationships.

The benefit of transformation

This is also a good opportunity for credit unions to market their electronic offerings and reevaluate any current business models that still rely on paper. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity for transformation. After the events of September 11, 2001, the financial services industry was transformed by Check 21 and the enablement of check image processing. This new crisis could also transform the industry for the better, as credit unions find ways to better serve their members.

Catalyst Corporate has enacted its Pandemic Preparedness Plan. Our remote workforce is supporting member credit unions in a “business as usual” manner. Our flagship platform, TranZact, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and can be accessed from any location, with only minor configuration changes by a credit union administrator. Should critical staff fall ill, remote training webinars are available to help train team members. If new services are needed, all implementations can be performed remotely and expedited, if necessary.

Together, we can navigate these challenging times. If Catalyst Corporate can assist in any way, please contact our Member Services Team.

Categories: Business Partners, Employment & Staffing, Marketing & Printing
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