COVID-19: tips from Milan on smart working for business as usual

Our Italian GLOBALHealthPR Partner agency, Connexia, is based in Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region that has been severely affected by COVID-19.  In this guest blog, Connexia’s Stefano Ardito and Giorgia Robaudo share their perspectives on how coronavirus has impacted everyday life and what the agency is doing to help ensure business as usual, not only for the agency, but also for other businesses impacted by the pandemic.

What really “smart” means for us

As you may already know from the media, on Monday the Italian Government expanded COVID-19 lockdown to include the whole country, affecting about 60 million people. At the moment in Italy 9,172 cases have been registered and the total number of deceased has risen to 463.

All schools and universities are closed, as well as museums, churches, pubs, sports centres and gyms. Religious services cannot be celebrated (such as masses, weddings or funerals). All public or private events are banned. Bars and restaurants are only open from 9am to 6pm, but most have decided to stay closed for the whole day due to the emergency.

Intensive care units are going to collapse if the spread of the virus doesn’t slow down in the next few days.

People are recommended to remain at home and the Italian Government has launched the awareness campaign “STAY AT HOME” that is supported by many local celebrities and influencers.

Smart solutions

Obviously this is having a strong impact, not only on daily life, but also on business. But “crisis” in Ancient Greek also means “to choose” and most Italian companies have chosen to react positively and are facing this challenge. At Connexia, we have promptly activated some smart solutions to keep giving 100% of our energy and support to our clients. Starting from smart work – not only for us, but for all Italian companies that may need support.

We have been using WebEx, the Cisco video collaboration platform, for 15 years. In partnership with Cisco, we are the leading retailer of this platform in Italy, with 250 customers throughout the country. In order to face this crisis, we decided to offer the platform for free to companies that are in a particularly difficult situation. Our WebEx team is actually supporting them in the service activation and will remain at their disposal for up to two months.

We are particularly proud of this initiative for which we received a special mention from the Italian Ministry of Innovation.

Planning and ongoing monitoring

But activating smart work within a company also requires some special foresight. It is important to pay attention to internal KPIs telling us how business is going: pipeline, ongoing projects, margin objectives and daily staff timesheets. At the moment at Connexia we are monitoring all these KPIs in real-time so we can  react effectively wherever necessary.

So Connexia keeps working 100%. To prove this, we have kept our monthly event Wake Up Innovators and turned it from a meeting into a webinar. The event will go live next Tuesday on WebEx with a special edition focused on crisis management and communication. We will be hosting one of the top Italian experts in the field, together with the general manager of BCD Travel (the third global tourism company for turnover).

Finally, we are working together with our clients to manage day-by-day business, sharing ideas to redefine their services and to manage ongoing work. We are studying ways to reach stakeholders such as physicians through digital communication channels, using newsletters and email campaigns, online events and social media.

In this moment the word “smart” has really become an attitude for us, far beyond a way of working. In the hope that this emergency will soon come to an end, we wish everyone a “smart” approach to work and a great recovery in the second part of 2020!

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