If there’s anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses, it’s that they need to be (or, in too many cases, should have been) prepared for anything. Disasters don’t keep a nine-to-five schedule, and you generally won’t get much notice that one is going to strike. This is why it is so important to have fully considered your business continuity and to have prepared your staff to work productively from anywhere.
First, let’s examine the various disasters that your business may have to contend with.
Business Disasters Come in Many Forms
As the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Unfortunately, in this case, the “cat” is your business and its operations.
There are plenty of reasons that you could find your processes interrupted. There are those relatively small frustrations, like an employee being out sick or a workstation demanding a restart at the least opportune time, with an entire spectrum of increasingly bad situations leading up to unmitigated disaster… think your office burning to the ground, or a worldwide pandemic forcing businesses to close for weeks on end.
You know, just to name a few examples.
While these situations all have varying degrees of severity, it is important that you have a plan for each to enable your operations to continue. This is what is known as business continuity.
Traditionally, we usually discuss business continuity in the context of data loss and extreme weather events. However, it has never been more clear that this is not the extent of what makes business continuity so necessary. We are now all first-hand witnesses of the importance of business continuity planning that doesn’t assume that there is anything inherently wrong with the office space or the business’ resources and instead acknowledges that the human element may be the problematic factor.
When it comes to threats like viruses, businesses should be concerned about all kinds--those that infect computers, and those that infect users. Both need to be addressed in business continuity plans.
How to Address Business Continuity in Terms of Illness
The idea of business continuity is simple: maintaining an acceptable level of business processes, despite some negative consequences that would prevent them from being possible, without proactive planning and preparations. It’s having a playbook, so to speak, of how to survive assorted issues and disastrous circumstances.
While the natural approach is to focus on those events that would impact your business in terms of its operability, with some discussion of lacking human resources, recent events have made it abundantly clear that the opposite also needs to be true. How would your business cope if half of your workforce (or more) suddenly couldn’t safely stay in the office and work for health reasons?
This needs to be a part of your business continuity planning, especially because it’s a very new situation for so many businesses.
What Your Illness-Based Business Continuity Plan Needs
Let’s briefly talk about the components that need to be involved in your continuity plan:
- The Means to Be Productive: As your team members attempt to work from home, you need to ensure that they are capable of still fulfilling their responsibilities. To accomplish this, they are going to need comparable technology solutions to what they are able to access in-house. This can be accomplished through a few means. You could equip your team with laptops that they can take home and work remotely on, with the solutions they need either delivered via cloud services or installed on the device itself. Alternatively, you could also enable them to access their work resources on their own devices in an adapted version of a Bring Your Own Device strategy.
- The Means to Remain Secure: Whenever your team operates remotely, it is important to remember that they are not within the protections you’ve established within your network, and are therefore susceptible to additional cyberattacks and other threats. This makes it important that you not only provide them with the tools they need to help maintain an acceptable level of security--like a virtual private network, firewalls, and antivirus--but that you also educate them on the best practices they should be following.
- The Means to Communicate and Collaborate: Finally, just because your team will be working from home does not mean that they shouldn’t still be working together. You need to make sure that they have sufficient means of communicating with one another. Provide them with solutions like Voice over Internet Protocol solutions, conferencing tools, instant messaging, and email, and make sure they are trained to use them when it is appropriate to do so.
If your business technology is making it more difficult for you to operate with all that is going on, reach out to ASAP. Our team of professionals can evaluate your needs, design the solution that best addresses these requirements, and provide the support needed to maintain it. Reach out to us to learn more.