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Business Continuity Plans in Times of COVID-19

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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted businesses all over the world. Read on to know the business continuity plans in times of COVID-19…

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak is impacting businesses all over the world. Whether your operations are already greatly affected, or the impacts are yet to be felt, a business continuity plan is essential to ensure you can be as resilient as possible in this global health crisis.

It is understandable to feel overwhelmed by the health and economic challenges posed by COVID-19. But we must focus on those things that we can control. Preparedness is a critical factor in determining the likelihood the business will remain afloat. If you have not done so already, it is imperative that you put a plan in place to maintain business continuity.

About Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity refers to maintaining business functions or quickly resuming them in the event of a major disruption. A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a plan-of-action a organization puts in place that can be relied upon in the event of an emergency, when tension and stakes run high. It outlines the policies, procedures, and instructions an organization must follow in the face of such disasters, covering items such as business processes, assets, human resources, business partners, and more. While the final product will be different for every company, a typical BCP might include evacuation plans, communication protocols, contact lists, key asset inventories, and anything else that would be important for employees in a crisis.

Employees – High Priority
The health and well-being of the employees is the top concern. It is possible that COVID-19 will sicken some employees and force others into quarantine. Address their immediate needs first, and then begin to think about operations with a remote workforce. It is critical to establish a strategy that enables employees to continue to function without endangering them. You willl want to verify that you have the tools, technology, capacity, and security measures in place to support a large remote workforce. It may also be necessary to offer greater flexibility to normal working expectations.

Getting the Team
A Business Continuity Plan is only as effective as the people who put it into action. Thus it is critically important to be specific about who will be directly involved, from the plan’s owner to those it affects. Getting these people on board during the planning stages can help with creating a stronger, clearer plan and a consistent message. Appoint at least one Point Person or selected team members to devise a response strategy and coordinate pandemic readiness activities. It may also be necessary to identify backup personnel.

A note of caution — while others may be involved in the plan’s execution, it’s imperative that the most senior leadership is involved — and seen as involved — in the organization’s decision-making. This will help to quell any fear and misinformation that can arise in such scenarios.

Crucial Communication
When faced with a catastrophe, people want clear, straightforward steps that they can follow and know they’ve covered their bases. It’s best to leave as little to interpretation as possible, and considering diverse perspectives will help make the plan as detailed and clear as needs warrant. Create a communications plan that includes providing employees and customers with regular situation updates as well as actions taken. Take care to ground your communications in verifiable news sources, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments.

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