As an industry, we find ourselves in unprecedented times. While we have all likely navigated choppy economic waters in the past, many of the challenges presented by today’s global health crisis are new to our industry — at least in the size and scale we are facing. With the immediate global economic conditions uncertain, leaders within our industry must apply a steady hand and compassionate resolve to steer their companies and their employees through these challenges. Near-term fl exibility and careful risk management are critical, and success ultimately will be determined by those who quickly adapt to the dynamic needs of their employees and their clients, building upon lessons learned to become even stronger.

As with any evolving crisis, communication is key, and so I’ve remained in regular contact with each of our leaders at ASGN, working together as we transition our internal workforce offsite and align our resources to meet our clients’ critical needs. We have also maintained frequent communication with our commercial and government clients, ensuring that we adapt seamlessly to their new protocols. There has never been a more important time to lean on one another for advice and support, so here I share some recommendations for addressing today’s unprecedented challenges:

Protect your employees. The health and welfare of our employees is, and always will be, our top priority. As the CDC and WHO released their safety guidelines, ASGN quickly initiated our business continuity plans and enacted a company-wide remote working structure. We find that frequent and open lines of communication help keep employees engaged and productive as they juggle their work with the safety of their families.

Stay close to your clients. Understand the unique challenges that your clients are facing within their businesses. There will be many different levels of safety measures and multitudes of protocols to keep track of, made more difficult by a remote working environment. But our clients need us more now than ever. They are facing the same uncertain global economic conditions that we are, and have to maintain the continuity of their own businesses. They will need our help to ensure their organizational objectives continue to be met.

Embrace the shift in how work is performed. For many, remote work policies have recently shifted from an optional incentive to a required status. At ASGN, we are fortunate to be engaged with such a large skilled contingent workforce, available for remote work today. But even with these ingrained telecommuting capabilities, the shift from on-site to remote does not come without its challenges.

Efforts to contain the Covid-19 health pandemic have accelerated this shift from on-premise to remote, but isn’t this how our work has been trending for some time? There are an increasing number of companies and products available today focused on making it easier to enact remote work policies. Candidates are also requesting “work from home” clauses be added into their contracts.

With that said, as an industry we should take careful notes over the next few months to ensure that we are adept in offering efficient remote working capabilities and meeting the potentially increased demand for these types of solutions for our clients in the future.

Embrace our humanity. On a more human note, work has now become much more personal for all. Our video conferences show us not in our corporate meeting rooms or cubicles, but in our home offices or sitting at our kitchen tables. Our calls are interrupted not by another meeting but by doorbells, barking dogs, children and technological hiccups. It reminds us that even during the most difficult times, our work is about people. We are more than just consultants. We are parents, siblings and pet owners. We are human.

No other industry is as tied into the world of work as ours. We understand the drive that humans have to be productive, and we know the value a job can bring to an individual. In these uncertain times, we must continue to help our employees reach their career goals by aligning our resources to match the challenge. And with that in mind, the steady hand will steer the wavering ship, even if the waters are uncharted.