As businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis, they are looking for ways to run their operations smoothly and mitigate any negative impact caused by the pandemic. For an organisation to survive during these uncertain times, they need to execute an effective Business Continuity Plan (BCP), which is how an organisation plans to maintain essential functions when a disaster occurs.
A business continuity strategy is critical to any company’s success when facing an unexpected situation. Here are some tips to ensure your organisation’s business continuity during COVID-19.
- Prioritise People
As people deal with the impact of COVID-19 on not just public health but the economy as well, employees look to their companies for guidance on how to move forward. Engaging people is an essential element of a Business Continuity Plan, which is why organisations should communicate with employees and address their concerns sincerely.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of employees will also make a difference in driving engagement and productivity during such a difficult time. Having contact tracing solutions and building maps in the company will allow employers to keep track of employees’ health status and identify potential cases. To minimise disruptions in business operations, organisations should implement safety measures and expand flexible work arrangements that allow people to work remotely and safely. They should also provide employees with appropriate hardware and software for remote working, access to their work files and online communication and collaboration tools for web meetings.
- Adapt Strategy
The COVID-19 crisis has most likely negatively affected many organisations’ business performance. To keep up with these unexpected changes in the market, organisations need to adapt their business strategy to ensure business continuity.
Companies should look at how the crisis affects budget and business plans, how it also affects their suppliers and partners and how their customers will behave as well as well. They should realistically assess their financial and operational capabilities and quickly come up with a plan on how to manage operating costs and sustain the business for the future.
Organisations need to keep in mind that the current situation is fluid and can change at any moment. They should be agile and willing to modify goals, plans and responsibilities along the way.
- Assign Responsibility
Once a company’s Business Continuity Plan has been adapted to the current situation, it is essential to determine an individual or team who will be responsible for maintaining, updating and executing the BCP.
The BCP team assigned should have the authority to make business-critical decisions. They also need to share the scope of the BCP with all employees to ensure that everyone is aligned and aware of the strategic direction that the company will take.
They will also monitor and implement projects, tasks or other related matters that need to be completed while the plan is active.
- Communicate with Relevant Stakeholders
Communication is essential to any successful company, and this becomes more obvious during a crisis. Organisations should provide clear, transparent and timely communications to assure and secure support from relevant stakeholders such as:
Keep your customers up-to-date with your activities and COVID-19 response measures. Make sure to inform customers if there will be delays to product or service deliveries.
Use internal communications to keep employees informed and engaged while ensuring their safety and well-being and driving employee productivity.
Ask suppliers if they can meet your requirements and if they have contingencies in place.
- Prepare for the New Normal
Eventually, there will be a New Normal and companies will want to review and renew their Business Continuity Plans. This will be an opportunity for organisations to assess if their BCP is working, tweak it if necessary and identify the actions that they need to take for the future.
From the lessons learned, organisations will be able to develop more efficient contingency plans for future crises.