An effective risk management strategy always comes down to preparedness. The recent closings and business disruptions due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the spread of novel coronavirus, once again, demonstrate the importance of companies having a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan (BCP). If your business is one of many that cannot simply close doors and expect to be able to re-open after the pandemic dies down,having such plan in place will insure that you can maintain the essential functions of your business during a major disruption.
It can also help managing the lingering indirect effects of such event. Loss of services, loss of income and potential loss of customers are just some of risks your organization will face and they must be investigated thoroughly.
In 2012, while the Northeast was still feeling the effects of Sandy, we wrote about this very thing and stressed the importance of having a comprehensive BCP as part of any business’ strategic goal. The current situation in the country, once again, validates our point of view.
If you already have a BCP in place, make sure you are regularly updating it to include changing factors like, business growth and change of personnel. You should also regularly test all aspects of the plan as well as train employees to follow it. Consider cross training employees to handle essential functions of the business as well, this will ensure your business is able to keep up with work, even if someone on your team is unable to perform their duties. While insurance can mitigate the effect of the risks of this pandemic, it cannot eliminate them. If you do not have a BCP in place, your business, no matter the size, is in serious danger of not being able to recover from the disruption. So how do you keep going as the pandemic continues to spread causing more and more business challenges and disruptions?
- Provide your team with the ability to work from home, if your type of business allows an option like that. If that is the case, ensure you have the IT infrastructure to do so. Remote work is a good option that will permit your company to operate during a disaster. Make sure you identify the risks involved in having your employees work from home and understand how to manage these risks.
- Keep yourself and your team informed with factual information from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization and pay attention to federal, state, and local agencies for guidance that may pertain to your industry.
- Establish regular check-ins with your team either by telephone or video calling to communicate your expectations for, both, working remotely and after re-opening, and allow them to inform you of any challenges or roadblocks.
- Establish a communication structure, so that everyone involved in your business knows the plan and who to turn to if they run into a problem.
Creating a Disaster Recover/Business Continuity plan will not only help you lower your Total Cost of Risk (TCoR), but will allow you to add stability to your business.
If you have any questions regarding structuring a Business Continuity Plan, or need help with any risk related issues please contact Albert Sica, our Managing Principal, at 732-395-4251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.