What has COVID-19 taught us about business continuity?
Business contingency plans, every business has them for that unplanned disruption. Most organisations however hope to never need to use them.
They may brush off the dust periodically and check the processes are still fit for purpose, but it’s only when those plans need to be put into action that you can really test their effectiveness.
We take a look at what lessons the global pandemic has taught us about business continuity.
Test, test and then test your contingency plans again
Of course, contingency plans are tested before they are officially signed off. But it’s important to test them in a replicated environment as close as possible to a potential real-life situation.
Perhaps that means evacuating a construction site to see how your supply chain reacts to the situation. Checking that processes are actioned as swiftly and accurately as possible when there are several different contracting companies on-site.
If you rely heavily on technology, it may be an idea to power down the main server and see the impact on the day-to-day running of your business operations. Do those contingency measures you have in place with your technology suppliers work effectively?
“It’s important to keep the conversation flowing. During the toughest times, clients will remember how well you communicated with them.”
– Richard Hanson, Linx Client Services Director
Allow for some flex
For many organisations who switched to home working, the pandemic tested whether there was the right level of technology in the business. Did all colleagues have a mobile device they could continue to perform their operations with? How were those critical customer support phonelines diverted outside of the building to effectively manage an increase in call volume?
For businesses continuing to deliver services, such as infrastructure projects and essential works, worker availability was also putto the test. Did their recruitment supply chain provide the flexibility to supply more labour where needed to manage self-isolation and shielding?
Keep the communication channels switched on and flowing
One thing which has been all too clear to see during this changing landscape, is that communication is crucial.
When normal business operations are disrupted having a clear line of communication with your clients and stakeholders is essential.
This often means having trusted technology systems that ensure processes such as recruitment resourcing can continue to operate without disruption. By automating these business-critical processes, organisations can minimise the risk of any breakdown in service.
It’s important however to keep the conversation going, whether that’s to reassure clients that your operations are mostly unimpacted, or to advise them of necessary changes. Regular updates explaining how you’re adapting and any interim measures you’ve put in place, are the key to maintaining a good working relationship.