6 key areas to consider in your business continuity planning
While it’s always good to have contingency plans from A-Z, we always hope we will never have to use them. Sadly, with the increasing fear and restrictions placed on us all as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are all being forced to take steps to ensure we survive, from a business standpoint as well as the obvious health implications this virus poses.
For those who were caught off guard, or simply never envisioned the need for a plan of this magnitude, here are 6 key areas to consider in your Business Continuity Planning.
1) Impact on the business
As soon as news breaks that could affect the business in any way, you need to act quickly and have clear direction. Identify the key activities that need to stay strong, discuss the implications that could occur, no matter how small, insignificant, or even outlandish and establish an emergency plan to create as seamless a transition as possible while always keeping up to date with government advice and regulations.
2) Impact on employees & customers
More than anything else, the people you work with inside and outside your organisation are your biggest asset and they will need to be reassured every step of the way. Make them aware of every decision being made, consider those who may need more assistance than others, whether it be personal health, family implications etc. and have plans in place to allow them to continue to work in unfamiliar surroundings or circumstances.
3) Implement policies
If it is your first time dealing with a situation such as this, it can be hard to make critical decisions with no previous experience in doing so. Setting out clear policies with defined triggers and procedures can eliminate a lot of the stress of deciding between pushing forward and applying the breaks. Government guidelines can change daily so it is helpful to know what you are listening out for to make your decisions more aligned to general opinion.
4) Allocate resources to protect employees & customers
While every organisation will have a hygiene code, in times of great fear, it is important that all employees in your care abide by these protocols, on top of extra added advice to help contain further risks. Ensure those it affects are aware of new guidelines, consider deeper cleaning procedures and have plans in place for more technological support for those working remotely. It may be costs that are never needed, but it’s better to have them and not need them.
5) Communicate to and educate your employees
The COVID-19 outbreak has been called the worst crisis in a generation, so it is highly likely no one in your organisation will have experienced anything like it and understandably, everyone is unsure and afraid.
It is very important that people trust you know what is best for them and they can rely on you to make the big decisions. Keep them aware of the latest news and health guidelines and keep in contact about any further developments, especially if they are working from home and are having little interaction with anyone else.
6) Coordinate with external organisations & help the community
Depending on your side and where you are based, there are likely to be a lot of people businesses in the same situation as yourselves. It is important to remember that we are all in this together and nothing is to be gained by going through this alone. Reach out to local resilience forums, liaise with those around you and work with other businesses to improve the lives of everyone you can without endangering yourselves.
To learn more about COVID-19 and the UK’s current guidelines regarding the outbreak, the link to the government’s website can be found here.
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