Are you prepared for the COVID-19 business impact?

It came out of nowhere. The degree of impact is unknown. Some businesses are mobilising workforces or enabling e-commerce, and others don’t know what to do.

Having an established plan with designated people to enact business continuity plans (BCPs) is key to your organisation being able to adapt and respond to a rapidly changing environment with the speed and accuracy.

But what if you don’t have this? Or your BCP is not sufficient to respond to a pandemic?

As the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to impact every organisation some way or another, ask yourself a few key questions to see if you have a plan, and if so, is your BCP robust enough to handle unexpected events, such as this.

  • What happens if we identify a case within our business? How do we respond?
  • How do we keep the business operating to the best of its ability without this key personnel?
  • What happens if half of our workforce become ill?
  • What is the impact on our supply chain?

We live in the age of communication where anyone can put forward an opinion publicly, some of it helpful, some questionable. So, who do you listen to and what do you do?

Typically, a Business Continuity Plan would point to three specific time frames in the event of a single significant event occurring, as per the diagram below.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a single significant event – it is an evolving event that changes daily and one where there is no blueprint to which to refer. If you are unsure about what to do next or feel paralysed by the fear of the unknown, think about the following considerations:

  • Can you define the roles and responsibilities for people during the crisis?
  • What strategies will require management of the immediate consequences of a disruptive incident? Think about:
    • welfare of employees and clients
    • client and supply chain communications
    • strategic, tactical and operational response options
    • prevention of further loss.
  • How will you communicate details for the organisation’s employees, their relatives, key interested parties and emergency contacts?
  • How the organisation will continue or recover prioritised activities within identified time frames?
  • Who are the organisation’s key spokespeople for response, specifically focusing on communications?
  • What is the process for resuming business as usual, once the incident is over?

With a series of questions you may not have all the answers to, or a pile of solutions you don’t know how to string together, think about developing the following as your COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan:

1. Emergency response (as soon as possible/immediate)

Focus on risk management to:

  • Undertake a business assessment to determine key risks, questions of uncertainty, issues and areas of concern
  • Identify key components
  • Determine a full response plan.

2. Crisis management (within four weeks)

Focus on business continuity implementation to:

  • Oversee and manage the response plan
  • Put in place financial and/or operational actions and solutions to underpin your situation
  • Conduct systematic ‘health checks’ (financial and/or operational perspective) to ensure actions are in place and working effectively
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • Engage, engage, engage.

3. Business recovery (two to twelve months)

Focus on business recovery, including putting a BCP in place:

  • Ongoing assessment of actions put in place during the previous phase, together with amendments if required
  • Determine key aspects, objectives, measures and outcomes required within this time frame
  • Design, develop and deliver a Business Continuity Plan and a Risk Management Framework to be actively used and embedded across the business / organisation.

Unfortunately, it is only in times of crisis we understand the importance of having plans in place. If you need help to work quickly to future-proof your business, contact Bentleys today. Our expert advisors are ready to work with you. We can help identify and put risk management frameworks in place, or work with you to develop your BCP.

Contact your local Bentleys advisor for help with navigating these challenging times.

Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.

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