While public health is certainly a concern, the Covid-19 outbreak worldwide and including in the United States is bringing about many other issues as well. The pandemic is wreaking havoc on businesses globally, from small businesses to enterprise organizations.
In some ways, enterprise-level organizations may actually be better prepared right now, because they have the IT infrastructure in place that lets them retain core services across the organization even as employees might be working from home or there are other interruptions.
Even so, it’s tough to say any business isn’t impacted right now.
The following are some things to know about business continuity in the time of the coronavirus.
The biggest issue right now for many businesses of all sizes is the implementation of remote access to data and information employees need as they’re working from home.
For larger organizations, the IT departments may be working to keep things moving smoothly no matter where they are and what their role is.
It’s important for employers and IT departments to make sure remote employees have the tools and devices they need, and there is a focus on making sure network traffic is moving efficiently through virtual private networks so employees can access the applications they need.
Along with facilitating remote access, employers have to think about how to continue collaboration during this time. This is especially important since most businesses have suspended all non-essential business travel.
Employees who have recently traveled may be asked to self-quarantine, again underscoring the need for strong remote work facilitation right now.
Creating a Continuity Plan
It’s not enough to just have employees working remotely. You need to be able to have a firm plan in place that addresses all issues related to business continuity, and if you don’t have that yet, now is the time to create one.
Consider the following, along with ensuring your employees are able to work effectively from home:
- Think about the health of your employees—you want to come up with a plan that puts them at the least amount of risk but also allows them to remain as functional as possible.
- If you have employees who are still working, make sure you have a plan for isolation in case there is a threat of infection.
- You’ll probably need to be more flexible with your HR policies in case employees are infected or quarantine.
- As is the case with other types of continuity plans, when it comes to a pandemic continuity plan, you want to make sure you’ve outlined what’s most important to you and what’s most essential that needs to be done so you can make sure you have the employees in place to complete those tasks.
We live in a globally connected world, meaning that if there are disruptions because of a pandemic in another country, it’s going to affect you as well. The same goes for other states that might be affected.
As part of your continuity plan, consider mapping out your dependencies so that you can see where disruptions are most likely to affect you.
Time Management for Remote Workers
One of the biggest issues you might face when implementing a pandemic continuity plan is how to make sure workers remain accountable and productive.
A good way to deal with time management issues and ensure accountability is to keep everyone virtually connected. Don’t underestimate the importance of meetings and screen time with employees when they’re working from home.
This will help you retain your corporate culture, as well.
In addition to face time via collaborative tools, you want to keep all employees in the loop.
Employees are feeling anxious and unsure right now, so make sure that part of your continuity plan relies on robust, regular communication.
You should also have official work-from-home plans and policies. For example, what is considered work hours, and what are communication expectations during this time.
We are facing a challenging situation right now, and businesses are feeling it, but what you might find ultimately is that once you create a plan for this situation to your business operating, you’re stronger for it in the future.
Having an effective business continuity plan and a remote work plan will help you in future situations and you might even be able to identify new opportunities.
Remember to remain transparent, flexible, and to take into account a rapidly changing global environment and local environment as you’re planning for business continuity in the midst of Covid-19.