Managing the impacts of the pandemic when other things don't go to plan

Pandemic business continuity planning typically focuses on the impacts to an organisation of a widespread disease that causes the unavailability of a significant number of the workforce.

Although organisations may yet be faced with this particular scenario if the combined effects of the coronavirus and flu through the winter months affect large numbers of people, the most significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the rapid transition to working from home wherever possible.

Interestingly this business continuity strategy is more likely reserved for scenarios where there is a denial of access to the business premises due to a physical incident such as a fire, not to reduce the transmission of a virus.

What this clearly demonstrates is that business continuity planning must have sufficient flexibility to adjust to the varied consequences of different scenarios that lead to the loss of a key resource or more often than not, a combination of resources.

Teed’s experience over more than twenty years gives us greater understanding of what the consequences could be or indeed, have been. Armed with this knowledge, we help our clients plan and implement recovery strategies that will counter the effects of, say, a cyber attack combined with a major disease outbreak.

For organisations who had already built agility into working practices prior to the onset of the pandemic, the leap to full-time working from home was not as onerous as for those who had not considered it. Furthermore, businesses who did a ‘dry-run’ in preparation for lock-down were able to spot the gaps, ramping up remote working capability accordingly and giving users the confidence that it worked. Scenario testing is a key facet of good planning.

It has not all been plain sailing, as working from home has produced challenges of its own; not just in ensuring secure remote access to IT networks, sourcing innumerable additional devices for home workers and embracing all forms of hitherto unknown video conferencing platforms, but managing the mental toil faced by all staff under incredible pressures at work and home.

COVID-19 has proved to be highly virulent causing severe and long-term illness for many. Our whole way of life has had to change as we adopt increased hygiene measures to try and stem the rise of the coronavirus through the population. 

This disease has turned our understanding of life upside down and inside out. There are no certainties or milestones to peg our hopes on, so we must make plans to adapt and adjust to real-time events as they happen. Mini-lockdowns, national lockdowns, full or part working from home, these all have to be combined with the more recognised and planned for business continuity threats, from bad weather to cyber attacks.

People well-being is of paramount importance. Instilling confidence in those returning to COVID secure workplaces, supporting those who continue to work remotely and maintaining morale.

Business continuity, perhaps once a far distant thought in the minds of many a manager, is happening every day as businesses and people adapt to different ways of working and changes in business models. Seeking new opportunities through diversification, changing business practices, incorporating sophisticated hygiene measures are all part of ensuring the business continues and moves forward, albeit for some in a different direction.

As the duration of the pandemic stretches before us, we must continue to adapt, embrace change and above all maintain business continuity.

The last thing any business wants now is to have to deal with the crippling impacts of a situation that could affect the already fragile recovery. With warehouses full to the brim in preparation for the triple whammy of Brexit, COVID and Christmas, imagine the consequences of a fire. Understanding the impacts in advance and maximising overall resilience will increase the organisation’s ability to recover and help to maintain market confidence.

Cyber attacks have increased exponentially during the pandemic with merciless types trapping the unsuspecting into clicking on suspicious links enabling infiltration into IT systems. Locked out of systems, encrypted data, ransom demands can bring down organisations for days if not weeks. Some will never fully recover.

Whilst business continuity planning is just one more thing to add to the list, it is the one that will help you keep going and maintain focus through the myriad of events that could appear on the horizon.

Teed has 21 years of experience guiding organisations, large and small, through the analysis, strategy and planning needed to develop a robust and agile plan, to enable swift and effective management of resource loss scenarios, be that a coronavirus pandemic or a cyber attack or some other combination of unfortunate circumstances.

We can manage your planning project within your budget and timescales, freeing up your time-pressured staff to get on with their day jobs.

Please get in touch with David Teed, / 01786 406370 or contact us here

Learn more about Teed's pandemic planning & Covid-19 guidance

  • Date: 26th October 2020
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