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NAELA Publications
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
703-942-5711
NAELA News Journal - NAELA News Online

Practice Management During an Emergency

Published March 3, 2020
The COVID-19 virus is causing disruption to businesses world-wide. NAELA has been asked to provide members with some basic information on managing their practices during an emergency. This is a constantly changing situation, so this information will get you started. As updates arise, we will post information to this web page.

If you would like to receive alerts when new posts on this topic are made, sign in to www.NAELA.org and go to www.NAELA.org/Knowledgebase to sign up for the Practice Management Topic Alert.

We hope that none of us has to enact these measures, but if the scenario does arise, it’s best to have a plan in place.

Securely Working From Home
COVID-19, like other natural disasters, is creating the need for businesses to be prepared to have their employees work from home. The following information comes from Ntiva, an IT management and security service consultants used by NAELA. Ntiva also has a Ntiva resource page for managing a business during an emergency. All businesses should have a business continuity plan in place, but in the absence of documented procedures, following is  a check list to make sure you have the basics covered.

• Start by ensuring all employees have access to high-speed internet access from home.

• Next, discuss how you will handle your business phone calls.
    o Are you able to forward your desk phones to employee mobile phones?
    o Can you take advantage of a softphone client? (an application that runs on your PC)

• Do ALL employees have access to a business laptop or will some employees need to use home computers.
    o Home computers will need to be set up in advance with your office software applications such as email and other commonly used applications.
    o If you use Microsoft Office 365, do you have enough licenses to either install O365 on home computers or have employees access Office 365 Online?

• Many organizations today rely on cloud-based services (Office 365, Quickbooks, Salesforce, DropBox, etc.) but others have on-premises servers with business applications and data.
    o Are you able to securely access those servers via RDS or VPN?

• Remind employees to take advantage of any collaboration tools you may have, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc.
    o All of these tools offer chat, video and screen sharing which will be extremely helpful to keep connected.
    o Make sure that everyone knows the preferred tool, so that you don’t have employees all using different apps.

• If you know you are leaving the office for an extended period of time, be sure to reset your password while you are in the office in advance of expiration.

• And finally, be on the lookout for an increase in phishing campaigns. Security experts have warned us that they are seeing an increase in phishing campaigns that are designed to capitalize on fears of the corona virus. Remind employees to be EXTRA CAREFUL about clicking on links to alerts, articles, etc!

A Few More Resources on Remote Work Considerations
5 Big Challenges of a Mobile Workforce and What to Do About Them
4 Strategies to Manage a Remote Workforce

Precautionary Steps for Employers to Consider
The National Law Review article, Coronavirus Outbreak Causes Employers to Consider Precautionary Steps, has valuable information for you if you have staff. It discusses sick leave policies, temporary travel opt-out policy, and the need to put policies in place uniformly.

Remotely Meeting With Clients
As you know, older adults are at a higher risk from COVID-19. You can set yourself up to provide remote client meetings, keeping your clients from having to leave their home to meet with you. Many businesses, including NAELA, use Zoom for remote meetings. If your clients are technically savvy, you can share your screen as well has have your laptop camera include you in the screen share. If your client isn’t up for that, this also provides you with a way to have a conference call with multiple users in multiple locations, which would be useful to loop in other employees and your client’s loved ones.

There are many more web conference software options.

This article from the Administration for Community Living, "What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?" discusses how older adults and people with disabilities face higher risks of contracting the disease and/or experiencing complications, particularly if they also have chronic medical conditions.