What Is Your Business Continuity Plan?

What Is Your Business Continuity Plan?

We are well aware now that a pandemic can incapacitate some employees and cause us all to self-quarantine. This is a major disruption of normal operations, and yes, large numbers of employees are working from home.

Your continuity plan should:

    • Establish a strategy that enables employees to continue to function without endangering them.
    • Make a plan to isolate employees (if you haven’t already done so).
    • Ensure that employees can work effectively from home.
    • Verify that you have the tools, technology, capacity and security measures in place to support a large remote workforce. Can you shift work to personally owned computers? Is everyone up to speed on how conferencing systems work?
    • Review your human resources policies to ensure employees won’t be personally impacted if they’re quarantined for extensive periods, and modify any policies to give greater flexibility to working arrangements.
    • Determine your priorities and the minimum staffing requirements to support these priorities in case you need to function — and you probably will — with a significantly reduced workforce.
    • Identify key employees, and ensure that other staff members have received appropriate training to comprehensively cover these employees’ absence.
    • Create a communication plan that includes providing employees and other stakeholders with regular situation updates as well as reports of actions taken.

In our global economy, you may be impacted by a vendor at a critical point in your supply chain. Understand your dependence on entities outside your purview. Are these third parties prepared? Protect your operations, and ensure continuity of services or products to your customers:

    • Map your dependencies to understand where disruptions might impact your value chains.
    • Review the preparedness of your third-party suppliers, vendors and service providers.
    • Identify single points of failure in your ecosystem.

Old technologies and obsolete tools will put at risk the successful execution of even the best plans. Upgrade your tool set to reduce execution risk. The tools you use to communicate, maintain situational awareness, and provide current and accurate information will have a major impact on the execution of your plan.

As you are preparing for and minimizing business disruption due to COVID-19, review your current business continuity and disaster recovery plans to address a variety of contingencies that could disrupt your firm’s business.

Keep plans sufficiently flexible, reflecting your firm’s size, complexity and business activities. Make sure:

    • You have a proactive program in place to reduce the likelihood that your firm’s business operations will be very negatively impacted. This includes employee training as well as communication and coordination with critical service providers.
    • You have the framework to address business locations and/or facilities to ensure your ability to continue your business operations if your primary physical space is unavailable.
    • Respond to rumors, and confirm your firm’s status. Instruct employees not to publish unconfirmed reports and rumors on social media.

If you rely on cloud-based communication, you should check for vulnerabilities. It’s clear today that global pandemics can cause massive issues with employees working from home. You’ll want to communicate with customers and each other remotely. Your main thought after ensuring the safety of yourself, your family and your employees is how to prevent revenue loss.