Lessons Learned from the Pandemic for Business Continuity

Survive or Die! Dramatic much?! Yes, but the pandemic made companies realize that either they adjust to new ways of conducting business or they will not survive! Unfortunately, many companies did not survive because they were not prepared to adjust their business practices at the speed that was required to do so during the pandemic. Many other companies made mistakes that brought on great casualties and are still working to find the best ways to move forward. 

But let’s not dwell on the past, there’s always a way to handle a crisis with a positive and optimistic mindset! Here are a few lessons to be learned from the pandemic that will help strengthen your business: 

Lessons Learned

Regardless of how big or small your company is, it’s important to know how to shift when unexpected changes need to happen. We all know that even when there isn’t a crisis, buying habits and the way businesses render services change over time, so it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected at all times. To elaborate, below are a few lessons that companies can learn from the results of the pandemic: 

1. One thing is certain and we can’t stress this enough, companies must be prepared for unexpected situations. Many companies did not know what to do when the pandemic hit, lacking operation options such as having additional laptops and computers available in order for employees to work from home. Risks that caused any sudden interruption or crises were not properly handled by many companies and these mistakes caused major casualties. 

2. Consider applying the most important processes in place as it’s impossible to apply and control all processes at once. Most importantly,  ensure that all the operations that are essential such as customer service and production departments are prioritized to ensure you are still providing communication with your customers and products without any interruptions. 

3. Conduct a risk assessment and consider probabilities and impacts on your company. Keep in mind you can have a low probability with a high impact and risk, which means it’s best to consider all situations that can possibly arise at any given time. For example, extreme natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes have a low probability with a high-impact that can have major and severe casualties. 

4. Use recovery and continuity plans to address system failures and the need to increase performance in short term. Make sure to communicate with suppliers and go through what procedures you will use to secure supplies and goods to avoid shortages and backorders. Also, make sure your staff is cross- trained and can perform any tasks at hand in case layoffs are required. 

5. It’s ideal for your company to practice recovery and continuity plans every year, so make sure your employees know the plans and how it applies to each and every one of them. Most importantly, the plans should also be managed with compliance guidelines and policies by their own manager with all mistakes and issues recorded and adjusted accordingly.  

Lastly,  if you need additional help due to staff shortages you can opt for contracting backup capacities with partners in advance to help  before restoring processes. These are all helpful ways to help a company remain a successful company while dealing with the uncertainties of any crisis.

Business Continuity Planning

The ideal business continuity plan should have a program in place that will protect a company from the consequences of a major crisis,  therefore your plan should include:

1. Implementing pre-disaster actions to ensure a state of readiness to protect assets and records as soon as a warning is received. 

2. Make sure to communicate disaster preparedness and response efforts to all employees and customers to make them aware of any changes and current situation. 

3. Use a team to develop, test and implement disaster preparedness with appropriate responses.. 

4. Ensure to have backups available for data, personnel, worksites, vendors, equipment and other resources. 

5. Disaster and response plans should be treated as “living documents’ so they can be updated as circumstances change. 

We no longer are just responding to natural disasters, but they are natural disasters during a pandemic and companies need to use scenarios in testing that involve multiple incidents leading to multiple impacts with components based on lessons learned during the pandemic. 

Game Changer

As we recover from the pandemic, a way companies should proceed is by creating and reviewing easily accessible continuity plans, which will be game changing and will increase the companies’ resilience, this will allow them to restructure their operations so they can rapidly adapt and evolve. The pandemic made company leaders and government officials realize the value of planning ahead and this is the time to transition that awareness into action. Businesses will never return to the way they were prior to the pandemic, however innovative ways will arise with better ways to provide goods and services, and that is the real “Game Changer”!