The Impact of Coronavirus on Businesses and Iconic IT: Mike Fowler Weighs In

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March 19, 2020

Rebecca Bevard, Lead Copywriter, Integris

I recently had a chance to sit down with Mike Fowler, CEO of Integris. We discussed the impact of coronavirus on businesses and Integris. Here are a few key takeaway points from that conversation.

What do You See as the Impact of Coronavirus on Businesses?

Mike cautions that the situation is constantly changing and evolving. He admits that there is some panic, but that the panic has some basis in reality.

“The coronavirus will be causing businesses to slow down, reduce production, and some may even close altogether,” Mike explains.  “We need to be prepared for all these scenarios.”

With many companies relying on shipments of products from across the globe, the impact of coronavirus may be severe on small to medium-sized businesses. In addition, “social distancing” may require some businesses to temporarily close their doors.

How Will Coronavirus Impact Integris?

Integris is in a great position to continue to provide support services for its clients, both existing and new, while still protecting employees and customers.

“Integris has advanced remote access tools and cloud services,” Mike explains. Even if our employees work from home, they will have access to the same tools they have here in the workplace. We have the capability to stay socially distant and still provide support services, even with a remote workforce.”

Additionally, with locations in five cities, there is enough staff to continue to provide support services even if one office is temporarily closed due to the virus.

How is Coronavirus Affecting Delivery of Software, Services and Hardware?

One impact of coronavirus on businesses is the ability to receive new products. “We’ve already seen delays in delivering products to our clients,” Mike said, “but we’ve been in constant communication with our clients about the situation and they are very understanding.”

In some cases, new hardware may be temporarily unavailable for clients. “We’ve expanded our number of vendors,” Mike explains. “This increases our capacity to find products. In some cases, we are providing alternative hardware options and recommending other options.”

Mike also said that he remains hopeful that production will pick up again once the spread of coronavirus slows, and has already seen signs that this could be happening.

How Is Integris Protecting our Clients?

“It all starts with the CDC prevention methods we all know such as handwashing and covering your mouth when you cough,” Mike said.

Integris is helping clients to expand their remote access capabilities, making work-at-home opportunities for their employees and limiting the likelihood of contamination.

“We are also limiting our onsite visits to emergencies only to help protect our clients as well as our employees.”

How is Integris Protecting Its Employees?

Integris has developed policies aimed at keeping employees safe and reducing the risks of infection. With a work from home policy and stipulations such as onsite client visits only if necessary, Integris is doing its part to protect ourselves and our customers.

“Some employees don’t like to stay home, even when sick,” Mike explains. “Our policy makes it a requirement that sick employees stay home.” He adds, “The policy defines the health requirements and conditions the employee must meet before being able to return to work in the office.”

Travelling for Our Employees

With five locations across the country and multiple speaking engagements, trainings, and other events on many Integris calendars, Mike cautions that no employee should feel compelled to travel if they feel unsafe.

Integris has already cancelled all unnecessary travel for Integris employees, and many engagements and events had already been cancelled by the organizers themselves.  Mike and the leadership teams at Integris are paying close attention to governmental advisories, requirements, and restrictions for travel, but are relying on virtual platforms such as Zoom and Teams for remote meetings.  According to Mike, “We shouldn’t miss a beat.”

Suggestions for Businesses

Mike Fowler explains that to lessen the impact of coronavirus on business, prevention is the key factor.

“Small businesses will be the hardest hit. No work means no salaries paid, and no salaries paid means no income for employees.”  Mike emphasizes that small to medium-sized businesses should consider all scenarios and consider their business continuity options, including remote work capabilities whenever possible.

Mike urges, “Follow the CDC guidelines for prevention. Maybe the things we are doing today will prevent more widespread issues tomorrow.”

In conclusion, Mike added:

“I wish the road ahead was clear. We have to keep the best interest of our employees and clients in mind in the decisions we make going forward. Pay attention to the recommendations and changing situation ahead. It’s my hope the steps being taken today will help us return to business as usual.”

We're Integris. We're always working to empower people through technology.

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