This whole affair with the lock down has finally gotten companies large and mainly medium and small looking seriously at their business continuity plans and how foolproof they are…or not. It got me thinking about me as an employee and an individual who has her hands in many things how foolproof I am too. It’s not a pretty picture but it’s a picture that needs to be dissected.
- Plan for the impact of an emergency
Now how many of us had planned for this? Is your day-to-day operations still running? Get a list of your business functions, both automated and manual. Are your critical business functions and essential equipment and systems up and running? Protect your investments with a business continuity plan that covers any and all events (as much as possible). All these considerations are brilliant in hindsight.
Looking at the conditions of my home, I can still order food but yes, I have to do my own housekeeping (I like this outsourced normally!). So all systems go for me individually. For me, I didn’t have the latest equipment to do audio interviews that would have high-end quality when it comes to sound. The basics can be done via WhatsApp voice notes. I also noticed I haven’t used the home printer as much and might need to sort it out. There have been an increase in Webinars and how then do I professionalize it with the right equipment?
I am wondering about my services and offerings and whether I have the right blend of O2O (Offline to Online and vice versa). It got me thinking on how I can be a blended offering. How can I be more effective offline and online? Also, what sort of possible crisis could happen in the future like illness for example. How will I continue to sustain myself?
2. Plan for the impact of an emergency on employees and customers (stakeholders)
Clearly assign roles and responsibilities to members of your disaster recovery team. Identify their knowledge, skills, and expertise to determine which role to assign to them. Establish policies to be implemented during an emergency. Employees in this case would be my son.
Fortunately he’s in college and fairly savvy with the laptop. I shudder to think of parents with younger kids and making sure they are equipped to educate and entertain their younger children. Had my son been younger, I would probably do some research on learning platforms he can have access to. Stick to a routine for him so that you can also have your routine in place.
3. Allocate resources to protect your employees & customers during an emergency
Your business has accumulated countless amounts of sensitive and critical data that you need to protect and secure at all times. Cloud data storage is especially useful for unforeseen crises that affect your physical workplace or business location. Not only does it enable employees to access the date from any location with an internet connection, but it also secures your data and client information in a safe place.
I have used this time to do a lot of online studying and getting ready for my own future. I have personally invested in equipment that will help me as I conduct webinars and do training. These were not bought earlier but who knew this was going to happen. So now waiting for online delivery! Also, it got me thinking of my insurance policies and how I will plan my budgets in the future.
4. Communicate to and educate your employees
The welfare of your employees is vital. Be transparent about the current situation of the organization from operating costs to health considerations. Communicate, communicate and communicate. Paint out the various scenarios and solicit help and understanding. Author & speaker Simon Sinek said “It’s better that we should all suffer a little, than any of us should have to suffer a lot!”
I had to communicate with my teenage son on the dangers of the virus firstly hence the importance of physical distancing. I told him we need to be in this together at home. Getting him to help in housework (I can’t fire him unfortunately) was excruciating but I can’t and won’t do this alone.
5. Coordinate with external organizations and help your community
Keep an updated list of the nearest fire station, hospital, police station, rescue organizations, and government entities that you may need to contact in various emergency situations and disseminate it to all departments and offices. What will you do if internet connection, phone lines, and telecommunications systems are damaged or completely destroyed during a disaster? A question I have to ask myself is if I have a good relationship with my neighbours, what relationships do I have to develop with people nearby and how far am I from the closest police station?
I also look at supporting the community by buying local as much as possible. There are a lot of great local companies providing everything from clothes, body products to food and my first preference are these local companies. Of course if you have additional funds, there are plenty of causes you can support if not physically at least financially. You can also help spread the word with your online media contacts.
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