CMHWorks Top 2020 Takeaways
Lessons from the Year of COVID
Purcellville, VA (December 31,2020) - Our interview with Mike Harvey took place over Microsoft Teams. Harvey has managed his business over the internet since long before COVID-19 forced millions of workers to work remotely. Harvey is a straight-talking leader who values his time and the time of his staff to the point that he demands streamlined operations via one integrated management solution. While business managers everywhere scrambled to implement remote workforces and find technologies that would help them operate under the rules of pandemic, Harvey’s company was sailing along on the productivity cloud Harvey had installed years ago. Yeah, Mike Harvey knows about cloud teamwork.
An Unprecedented Disruption
My Tech company’s workforce was 100% remote years before COVID. That gave us a head start over the competition. I don’t see why anyone forced to go remote would ever go backMike Harvey - Founder/Principle CMHWorks
The first detectable case of COVOD-19 occurred on November 17, 2019 in China. By April 7, 2020 roughly 95% of all Americans were under lockdown. 42 States had issued stay-at-home orders. Our Country was grinding to a halt.
As most of America’s businesses made layoffs permanent and Companies announced that their closure would be permanent, some sectors of the economy were filling the gap in production and delivery of goods. Restaurants started curbside and delivery services, as did grocery stores and nearly all other forms of retail.
Tech and digital marketing went into overdrive as companies struggled to keep up with demand for teleconferencing, online marketing, website and social media creation/improvements.
Harvey’s company, CMHWorks, is a technology and business service provider. They develop strategies, architecture & design, development, and support for general industry, healthcare, education, and retail. This broad technological footprint positioned his company well for new business models adaptable to the future COVID brings us.
Asked what business needs to take away from 2020, Harvey checked off a list of items that the next normal demands, not a wish list, a survival list.
Make a realistic assessment of what your company must look like in 2021 to remain viable. “This is not going away,” said Harvey. “Businesses need to determine what a remote workforce looks like for them.” Harvey believes much of our brick and mortar will be replaced by remote work facilities designed to keep a business running through whatever comes next.
Harvey says “scalability” is a word too often associated with growth. “Companies need to create plans for scaling down as much as scaling up. “Look what happened to AOL,” says Harvey. In 2001 AOL acquired Time Warner. “At the time, it was the largest merger in U.S. history and the death bell for a Company focused solely on upward scaling at a time when their technology was becoming obsolete. If AOL had ability to scale down at that time, they might still be a major player in the technology sector. They did not.”
“If you can do it remotely, do it,” said Harvey. Explaining that going remote is a demand, not an invitation. Door to door business is completely dead. Business to business (B2B) will no longer be done primarily and trade fairs, seminars or any other in person venue. It will be done on the internet. Teleconferencing is not the future - it is the now.
The Devil is in the details. Deal with details before they become problems. Harvey says company policies need to reflect the new normal and be prepared for the normal after that. “Think about the demands on your IT department when some or all of your staff is working on personally owned devices in their own home network. “Over the last couple of years, we learned that most everyone, including the Federal Government has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to cyber security,”: said Harvey. “Cyber security has been a ‘total fail’ at the government level. The federal Government was hacked - how can you be safe?”
Concluding that there is much more to do, Harvey addressed his experience. “I went remote for many reasons, not least of which was because I could defer the “brick and mortar” costs. I’m not an oracle and didn’t foresee Covid. No one did. But the decision serendipitously positioned our company to better weather the COVID crisis”, he said.
Challenges abound when going remote. It was certainly better for CMHWorks to go 100% remote long before the COVID gun was pressed against the heads of business owners everywhere.