"The main aim is to assess the situation, understand what needs to be planned for and implemented should the need arise"
Unless you have been living under a rock, it’s no secret that most people have been thinking about what's going to happen regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that is picking up speed in Australia.
We wanted to put together a brief overview of what to think about regarding your business, and how you can prepare should there be a lock down and people need to work from home or, a number of your staff become unwell and you need to ensure the continuity of your business.
Firstly, all businesses large and small can benefit from putting together a business continuity plan (BCP). For most businesses sizes this doesn't need to be a 100 page document, it could be just a few pages that clearly outline what you will need do in a specific scenario.
The main aim is to assess the situation, understand what needs to be planned for and implemented should the need arise.
Assessing the situation:
What are the key functions that may be affected
How long can the business afford downtime without having a major effect
What additional resources will be required to continue the business should issues arise
Are all the required processes and procedures documented so any member of staff can function in a particular role
What message will be relayed to staff and customers
What are the capabilities of running telecom and technology during a crisis
Planning for changes in business operation:
Based on the above, all required procedures should be documented and tested
Will there be additional costs associated with downtime or changes in work functionality, if there are these need to be worked out and put into a time lined scenario
If your business needs to work remotely, how will staff notified and monitored for their roles and well being
What are the remote facilities and are they sufficient to continue the daily operations
Testing your plan:
The above procedures can be planned out through activating some immediately to test if they work and reporting changes needed
Dry running remote operations, alternative staff executing daily procedures
Testing cash flow modelling so if there was a downturn for a period of time, how long can this be sustained
Regularly reviewing the continuity plan and adjusting if needed to be sure the business can remain operational
So the above is small snapshot for putting together a robust business continuity plan, outlining some of the key points to take action on and assess regularly.
The current situation with COVID-19 is most likely a remote working scenario, so looking at this scenario first may be a good way to start the development of a full BCP
Above all however, staff are the most important part of business and making sure they feel informed, safe and comfortable should a situation arise is paramount.
So plan well, keep safe and take care of everyone around you.