Can your business continue running even during a pandemic like COVID-19?

Business continuity is a company’s ability to maintain key functions even as crisis, disasters, and other disruptions occur. Such disruptions include earthquakes, fires, or floods, but pandemics can affect your business the same way, even if it’s not happening where you live and work.

Is your business prepared?

How ready is your company to resume operations after a disaster? Ask yourself these key questions:

  • What parts of my company need to be running right after a pandemic?
  • Do I have a prioritised list and a plan for resuming operations?
  • Can I get in touch with employees during a pandemic before or after business hours?
  • Can we stay open for business if your supplies can’t be delivered?

If you can’t answer these questions, your company probably isn’t doing everything it can when it comes to business continuity planning. To get started, you have a couple of tasks to accomplish:

  1. Study the potential effects of a pandemic.
  2. Evaluate the risks specific to your business and location.

Once you’ve carried out a risk assessment, perform a business impact analysis (or BIA) to anticipate the possible consequences of business disruption due to a pandemic.

Some disruption scenarios include:

  • Having many employees being absent because of illness.
  • The inability to travel, enter buildings, or access assets due to quarantine.
  • Having to temporarily close at least one of your branches due to the spread of disease.
  • Interruption in your supply network.

To help deal with these scenarios, look into national and local government policies and the potential impact they may have on your operations and emergency plans. Assess the government’s capability to help your company and employees.

The BIA also establishes important services and functions that your business can’t do without. It considers people, facilities, IT, and suppliers answering questions like:

  • What supplies are essential?
  • What equipment do you need to conduct business?
  • What’s the minimum number of staff you need to stay open?
  • What process do we absolutely need to have?
  • If business should close, what’s its impact over several days, weeks, or beyond?

Possible consequences to your company include the following:

  • Lost or delayed sales
  • Higher costs
  • Customer dissatisfaction
  • Damage to your reputation
  • Regulatory fines

When evaluating the potential impact of a crisis, don’t forget to consider time.

Remember that when and how long the disruption occurs is important. A pandemic may take months or years to reach its full destructive potential, and could remain in that state for just as long.

The risk assessment and BIA will help identify disruption scenarios for your company and prioritise the order of recovery. Armed with this information, you’re ready to create a business continuity plan.

Business continuity

The business continuity plan is a step-by-step document for carrying out recovery measures after a crisis. It’ll likely include the following details:

  • Contact information for key team members.
  • Instructions for using the plan.
  • Policies or industry standards to serve as references.
  • Emergency response guidelines that define when the plan will be used.
  • Instructions for recovering operations, relocating, and other activities.
  • Additional references such as lists of alternate vendors and workspaces, emergency services, contacts, and more.

Roles in your plan

Assigning roles is a critical step in the business continuity plan. A typical structure would start with management, a business continuity team leader, and the following teams:

  1. The business processes team would focus on restoring all your branches to working order and making sure that employees and customers are able to travel as needed.

  2. The HR team would handle all healthcare issues presented by employees (e.g. policies for allowing infected employees to return to work, making sure all follow proper hygiene protocols).

  3. The customer relations team would help vendors, customers, and other business partners in reconnecting with the parts of your business affected by the pandemic.

Your business recovery strategies should monitor the status of a pandemic as reported via the World Health Organization and other official sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Business continuity is all about keeping things running smoothly and returning your business to a healthy and properly functioning state.

Partner with us

An effective way to ease a pandemic’s impact is by outsourcing the work to a virtual team. Operating remotely helps you mitigate the risk of spreading the disease. At the same time, hiring a remote team helps you reduce your costs and burn rate.

But don’t hand over your processes to anyone; team up with Remote Workmate. We’ll find the best specialists for your business and handle all the heavy lifting for you. including payroll and onboarding.

Finding the ideal talent has become so much easier.

You can actually choose from our pool of top candidates right away. Simply click the button below to browse a wide range of profiles on our Hotlist page.