Acclimatizing: more than just what slippers to wear
Social distancing, record breaking unemployment, the bulk of the nation working from home...Tiger King. It has been a landmark first quarter to 2020. The flurry of initial responses to COVID-19 is starting to subside, our communities and businesses are stabilizing, settling into our new temporary normal. However, this is just the first step of the crisis. Now is the time to start looking forward and planning for the next phases.
As organizational leaders, your primary concern is now focused on the potential impact of your employees contracting COVID-19 or having to care for their loved ones. How will you track absenteeism? What are your critical functions that must continue to maintain minimum levels of business? Who are the employees responsible for those functions? If they become ill, do you have strategies for those critical functions? At the executive level who are the backups that continue to manage the organization in the event leaders are affected? Now is the time to take a hard look at your bench strength, ensuring you can maintain business through this second phase.
The third phase we need to be prepared for is “back to our new normal.” How are you going to bring your staff back into the office? If you had to lay off your workforce how are you going to re-engage and onboard them? At the same time or staggered? Who needs to come back first, second, or third? Onboarding 100’s of employees is labour intensive and a heavy lift for your Human Resources department, it won’t happen overnight. It will require cohesive strategies to ensure a smooth transition back to the office setting.
The last phase that will affect some, not all, organizations is supply chain. The lack of toilet paper on store shelves right now highlights this perfectly, supply chains can be significantly impacted by COVID-19. How are they going to be transitioning back to a new normal? Are your vendors open for business? Can they continue to supply you with products that you rely on? When can you expect product to be delivered? Where are you on the list of priority customers? Can you find alternate vendors?
The threat of this pandemic is expected to last for weeks or even months. Organizations and governing bodies have put in place significant measures designed to mitigate the spread of the disease and encourage physical distancing; however, this is just the beginning of a BCP response. As leaders of your organization you need to be prepared for the upcoming phases of the crisis, the next wave of illnesses, or whatever the next threat might be.
If you are already teeing up these actions, fantastic work! If you are just starting to think about what's next these steps can be used as a guide. If, like many organizations, you are stretched thin and can’t reliably pull these next steps together, consider reaching out for help. Business Continuity professionals like myself are diligently working to support our communities and businesses through the coming weeks and months. We are here to help!
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