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30 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2020 The Orders Keep Coming, and the Phone Keeps Ringing Developing best practices for supporting re- mote work and socially distant manufactur- ing—on the fly during a pandemic—would not be easy. For that first week or so, circumstanc- es were changing every couple of hours. Ev- erything was a distraction, and no one knew when the next shoe would drop, making it the most challenging situation our leadership team had ever faced by far. We knew our organization's pre-pandemic state of preparedness would inform our re- sponse to the rapidly changing environment. As we assessed our "go forward" strategy in those first hours, these questions were top of mind: • Is our communications technology infrastructure capable of supporting an exponentially higher number of remote workers? • Will our cybersecurity measures be ready for the increased threats that often accompany widespread crisis? • Can we quickly adapt our manufacturing facility safety protocols to protect staff from infection? • Do we operate with enough agility to make necessary process changes without sacrificing the quality of service? Though these seem like binary questions, they are not. Being prepared for an emergency and being prepared for this emergency are two different things, so we proceeded with an open mind, ready to adapt in each of these areas as circumstances required. Working Together Apart As a manufacturer, we had to handle two separate solutions for our work. Those who could work from home needed protocols and tools. Those working on the manufacturing floor needed alterations to our practices that would keep them safe and productive. The human element cannot be ignored in a situation like this. Moving staff from their of- fices into home offices involves more than just reliable internet. Everyone would be in a dif- ferent environment with its own unique chal- lenges, so we kept that top of mind as we made the transition to remote work. First, we got the teams in sync, assigning immediate response tasks, and establishing workflows to accommodate a dispersed work- force. We brought customers into the loop at the same time by updating our website and sending out regular email notifications to keep them updated on how changes will impact them. We wanted them to know that we were working, but that some of the changes would affect how we interact. For the employees working from home, across all departments, we already had every- thing in place in terms of technology and pro- cess. The organization has always been pre- pared to shift work off-site in the event of an emergency, so the big challenge was helping people acclimate to a different work environ- ment. Would PCB and customer support qual- ity be impacted if our service team could not walk down to the production floor to look at a board? With the entire state under stay-at-home or- ders, daily remote work happens while locked in the house with spous- es, children, and even ex- tended family members. Recognizing this as a potential issue, we keep team meetings short and stagger work schedules to serve client needs and provide staff the op- portunity to work when their full houses are less active.

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