COVID-19, which originated in China has traveled to the remotest corners of the world and has claimed over 50,000 lives, with over a million infected. United States, Europe, United Kingdom, and India are among the most infected countries. Also, most infected nations are the market that decides the course of the global stock market.
Businesses are tattered, the global stock market has plundered and the universal economic crisis is around the corner. Almost all organizations have facilitated work from home for their employees and offered additional monetary assistance. Even when the biggest global organizations are getting work done, the economic crisis is impending but why?
Lack of an efficient Business Continuity Plan is the reason why most businesses are expected to incur losses. The absence of one such plan that comes under effect post disasters can render organizations obsolete.
A business continuity plan is no more a document that helps organizations evade fines but literature that helps enterprises avoid untimely losses during disasters of all kinds. Be it natural or a manmade disaster, a properly created business continuity plan can help organizations sustain all kinds of damages without going shut.
Here’s a set of tips that will come handy when creating a BCP for Pandemics
Establish a Contingency Plan: To have a plan that helps employees function irrespective of the disaster that has occurred is perhaps the sole purpose of creating a business continuity plan. With one such intricate BCP that ensures smooth functioning, organizations can minimize damage and control losses.
Isolate Infected Employees at the Earliest: Multiple organizations took swift action during February-March and isolated employees who showed symptoms. With such swift action, businesses successfully saved their other employees from getting infected. Isolation ensures that infections are stopped from getting transmitted and provides a window of opportunity to sanitize office spaces.
Creating Emergency Fund to Compensate Well: The number one rule of personal finance management is to create an emergency fund that takes care of your expenses for at least six months. Well, it is about time organizations started creating emergency funds too. With one such fund dedicated to ensuring every employee who continues to contribute after a pandemic is paid well. One such will help organizations retain valuable employees and also keep up with the brand reputation.
Salary Emergency fund will help organizations gain an unparalleled advantage in the market, which will attract potential clients and hardworking employees.
Develop Technological Capabilities: Corona outbreak has coaxed businesses into acquiring technological capabilities, which they thought weren’t useful. While companies have facilitated work for home for almost every employee but lack of tools to manage, monitor and correct employees in real-time has impacted the overall productivity.
It is during the normal times that all such technological advancements are made and not when the disasters strike. Adopting such advancements when things are normal leverages organizations with the opportunity to test it under varied circumstances.
Create a Key Role that Reports directly to CEO: Almost every organization has a business continuity plan but only a handful of them have a plan that works. With multiple people involved, it gets very confusing and everything turns into chaos. With one person heading the disaster management program can help businesses streamline everything.
One person who ranks high on the hierarchy and has several people at his disposal can accomplish tasks better and ensure responsibility at all levels. The head of the disaster management team responsible for the implementation of a business continuity plan should directly report to the CEO.
Create a Communication Channel: Enterprises across the globe use channels like “Skype for Business” for collaborating at intra-organization levels. These channels often work on LAN networks, which become redundant when employees work from home. Your business continuity plan should mention tools that will be used as an alternative when working from outside the LAN network.
Mention these tools clearly and make every employee know about it. Here’s how to implement it:
- Urge IT team to install alternative communication tool on all system by default
- Use the “tips of the day” tab as a tool to educate employees about the contingency plan
- Conduct mock drills and urge employees to participate in it
- Urge managers to share details of contingency plan with team leads and propagate them further
A Medical Emergency Response Team: Outbreak of Corona has shifted the corporate’s focus from battling deadly diseases to avoiding them. Prevention seems to be a better way out for organizations. When BCPs include a medical emergency response team, enterprises can use it as a tool to establish a helpdesk with requisite medical supplies and professionals to attend employees who show symptoms or to attend employees who can be a potential victim because of their travel history.
Enterprises should consider having one such desk established as soon as a disaster breaks out and not wait for it to reach their city or state. With prevention being the best tool to fight these pandemics, businesses cannot wait and risk the health of employees.
Try Minimizing Employee Requirement: This may sound wrong but it is certainly not about firing but more about Essential Staffing. By letting most employees work from home when a disaster strikes and ensuring only essential staffs are at the workplace, organizations can easily carry out operations without hindrance. Here’ how to implement it:
- Identify processes that need to carry out from the premises, like IT server management and Administration.
- Make a list of employees essential to the processes.
- Let alone everyone else who is not a part of the essential employee list operate from remote locations.
Work in close relation with Local Authorities: Taking local authorities in confidence is the toughest task hence it is necessary to prepare for it in advance. With someone from administration readily being in touch with the local bodies can help organizations manage essential permissions. Permission of local authorities is essential to carry out processes and movement of assets from one place to another when lockdown or curfew is implemented.
COVID-19 has brought the entire world on its knees; with organizations in disdain and governments taking decisions on an ad-hoc basis everything looks like chaos. It is times like these organizations should learn from and implement when normalcy is restored.
By including the discussed points organizations can develop a business continuity plan that saves processes and employees from getting impacted by the outbreak. Effective management and implementation of BCP with these features will help enterprises minimize losses and safeguard employees from catching infections.