8 Business Continuity Ideas To Prepare Your Company for the Long Haul
There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on business continuity for big and small companies. The sudden spread of the virus has forced companies to make drastic changes to their daily operations in an attempt to keep employees safe. While having your team working from home is a great way to keep your company running smoothly in these uncertain times, do you have plans in place to protect your business in the long-run?
The most challenging part of this pandemic is that there’s no way to tell when it will end or what kinds of long-term effects it will have on businesses. It’s important to start thinking about how you’re going to help your company survive this pandemic. You can use this experience to come up with a business continuity plan that better prepares your company for the future. Here are some considerations we highly encourage you to start thinking through.
1. Plan For An Extended Work-From-Home Period
At this point, there is no endgame in sight for the pandemic or the recommended quarantine period nor where the market is going. While many of us thought that remote operations would be temporary, it could end up being longer than anyone could have foreseen for certain members of your team. To stay on top of this change, you need to prepare for extended remote work if that becomes necessary for some or all of your team.
If your employees are already working remotely, half of the job is already done. However, it’s a good idea to start implementing protocols to keep things running smoothly. Utilize the appropriate technology for collaboration. This includes apps like Zoom or Microsoft Teams and screen sharing software.
Because your employees will not be able to take advantage of in-office engagement, create some new processes that will foster teamwork. Set up a protocol for information sharing and establish a nice meeting cadence. You also need to recognize that not everyone on your team will have the same levels of familiarity with remote work. Provide adequate training and support to ensure that those employees can be just as productive at home as they are in your office.
2. Prepare A Plan If Extended Remote Work Is Difficult for Some Employees
You’ll quickly find that working from home is more difficult for some employees. Those with children are going to have more challenges during this pandemic. With schools and daycare facilities closing their doors, there are no other options than to have kids stay home.
Unfortunately, this can prove to be a bit problematic when it comes to working from home. You need to identify who is unable to work remotely or come back to the office when things start clearing up. Create a backup plan for those team members and address the unique challenges they are facing.
3. Consider The Additional Risks That Come With Remote Working
Despite the necessity for remote work right now, it also comes with a ton of risks. Your private company data and financial information are exposed to more threats when you’re not in the confines of your office. Even with strong security protocols in place, malware and ransomware can run rampant. Plus, there are liability issues and other problems to consider.
Take a look at our other blog post to learn how to keep your business protected while your employees are working from home. You need to work with your IT company to implement strict security protocols. Consider two-factor authentication and other validation methods to prevent hackers from stealing passwords from unknowing employees as they work remotely.
We recommend consulting with cybersecurity experts to better prepare yourself. Learn more about the necessary steps you need to take and always be on the lookout for additional fraud attempts.
4. Consider Contingency Plans About Mission-Critical Responsibilities
There are going to be instances when people need to be in your office to complete mission-critical tasks. It’s important to come up with a plan on how this will be done safely. Who is going to cover the responsibilities of critical personnel? You can do A/B teams to ensure that those necessary tasks are covered at all times while remaining safe.
You may also need to have a contingency plan in place for instances when critical staff is not available. This includes you. Designate a person that can take care of your responsibilities in the event that you become ill and cannot complete them yourself.
5. Identify A Vendor For Backup IT Support
Cybercriminals are taking full advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. With all of the risks companies are being exposed to, cybercriminals have a wealth of opportunities. We’re already seeing this happen. The FBI has reported that fraud schemes are on the rise and uses COVID-19 as their topic of entry.
Your in-house team or current IT company is dealing with a lot right now. Not only are they trying to get everyone working remotely, but they could quickly become overwhelmed trying to keep attacks at bay. Having a backup vendor on standby ensures that all your bases are covered.
6. Confirm Or Set Up Remote Banking Capabilities
Just because your team is not working from the office doesn’t mean that you should not be collecting payments or performing basic financial duties. One important task you need to take care of ensuring that you’re able to take care of your company’s banking duties from anywhere.
Consult with your financial team and make sure that everyone has the necessary authentication tools. This could be tokens, FOBs, or passwords. Then, review your banking permissions online. You could reduce authorities a bit to make things easier for your finance department or add more to beef up your security. All of this can be done online through your bank’s website for simplicity.
If you receive regular paper checks through the mail, you can approach those payments in a couple of different ways. One option is to contact your customers directly and provide them with the necessary banking information to facilitate electronic remittances. This will keep the payment cycle running smoothly. Alternatively, you can come up with a plan to collect checks from your office and complete deposits with your bank.
7. Identify Additional Vendors For Critical Inputs & Services
One of the best things you can do in terms of business continuity is to have a backup plan for important services. Your vendors or suppliers could be experiencing massive issues on their end. This may last through the duration of the pandemic and continue long after it’s over.
If you don’t have backup vendors in place, your business could come to a grinding halt. Identify some backup options for the worst-case scenario. Ideally, those backup vendors will be located in other states. While the pandemic is nationwide, some areas are not impacted as bad as others.
8. Review All Insurance Policies & Revisit Terms
You have insurance for situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of those policies if it’s necessary. Before you do that, take some time to review everything. Communicate with your broker closely and get advice based on what others are doing. Think about those policies that you don’t have but could use right now.
It’s also important to familiarize yourself with your company’s business interruption insurance. Analyze the terms of the policy and understand how the process works. When can you make a claim? What kinds of documentation will you need to make it? Knowing the answer to those questions can make all the difference.
We are living in unprecedented times. There are a lot of unknowns with the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all of the chaos, there’s no better time than now to come up with a business continuity plan. Taking some time to think about your options and how you will proceed moving forward can help your business come out of this pandemic more prepared than ever.