Is Your Business Response Plan Effective Against COVID-19?
If not, you are not the only one. The Risk Management team at LOBO Consulting can offer solutions to address the instability pandemics cause your business operations. Aspects to be considered in the face of COVID-19:
Coordinated Operations Vulnerabilities Immediate Disruption
Keys to confronting the interruption to your organization include coordination, communication and choices in developing a plan that helps your organization make decisions, respond quickly to what comes next and understand what questions you need to ask to protect your company’s greatest assets: People, Operations & Brand Reputation.
Designate a “Response Team” to coordinate and assess potential disruptions and lead response strategies as new information emerges.
Establish the team’s goal to develop both a Response Plan and a Business Continuity Plan to continue operations during the undetermined period of disruption due to staff quarantine or building/facility shut down.
Analyze the vulnerabilities within the organization to determine how COVID-19 impacts all aspects of the organization (operations, financial, culture, brand). This includes an escalating scale to reflect the growing impact of COVID-19.
The key to minimizing the impact of COVID-19 on the organization is to act immediately. Promptly develop and implement the Response Plan for classifying and responding to the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Mitigate business disruption with a multi level response scale based upon contact with the contagion. Lower level or Tier One response may be initiated by an employee having come into contact with someone diagnosed with the virus.
The highest level of response is implemented when full blown infection across multiple business units, departments or locations occurs resulting in hospitalization or quarantine of up to 1/3 or greater of the organizations workforce.
19 Considerations in the Face of COVID 19:
- Develop a Business Continuity Plan establishing a Senior Leadership team with a succession plan to ensure roles, responsibilities, decision-making capabilities for quickly escalating urgent matters and a process for decision making authority are clear in the event that one or more points of authority become unavailable.
- Enable signing authority for payments, provide interim leaders with access 3rd party services to minimize disruption.
- Establish a communication plan for disseminating critical messages to key stakeholders concerning the impacts to your business (office closure and re-opening, disruption in the provision of services) including communications on how notifications will be made when operations resume and offices re-open. I.e. ‘Return to Work Message’. This should include who has responsibility for publicizing those vital messages and account for the broad range of stakeholders such as customers, employees, vendors, service providers, unions, contractors and government.
- Secure contact information of employees, as well as their emergency contact information ensuring that it is up to date and circulated across the leadership team.
- Institute a process to report employee illness and infections to the senior management team, including requirements to report (via phone or email) any confirmed COVID-19 cases and how to address increased absenteeism or a refusal to work.
- Consider implementing work at home capability, ensuring team members have the adequate tools to perform their duties.
- Postpone or cancel in-person team events and utilize video conferencing technology to have virtual team gatherings and social events to keep the team connected.
- Postpone in-person meetings or travel and utilize tele/video conferencing tools.
- Promote precautions ensuring a safe workplace; including increased cleaning and sanitization and education on hygienic best practices.
- Ensure employees can continue to be paid. Evaluate whether income support is available to be offered to employees who cannot endure an extended interruption to their pay.
- Evaluate the need for staff reductions, or decentralization of your workforce by conducting operations in alternate locations, in an effort to lessen the adverse financial impact caused to the business by the disruption.
- Determine IT infrastructure can support a) remote or work from home set up b) capability of supporting an increased network traffic and volume resulting from home method c) safeguarding your Network System Security.
- Insuring that there is a system of offsite back-ups in the event of an IT system outage.
- Assess impact of disruption in supply of goods/services the company depends on and define the response plans.
- Identify if integral vendors and partners (suppliers, distributors) have their own continuity plan for the provision of their goods / services to support your organizations during a pandemic event.
- Forecast reduced business volumes and account for the impact to your finances and cash flows and identify if there are opportunities to issue invoices earlier, actively monitor collections and keep well informed about ageing receivables and companies that are struggling to pay at an appropriate time.
- Perform a projection or modelling exercise to review the overall impact if your customers delay payment for 30 days later than the agreed current terms, taking into considering that your employees will need to be paid and consider short-term solutions and potential interim financing options with your current bank for working capital when inventory and receivables become difficult to collect.
- Consult with your insurance broker to review and evaluate your current coverage for how your operations are impacted. Analyze whether existing insurance policies provide adequate coverage for potential losses.
- Ensure security protocols, measures and controls are developed and in place in the event your organization must vacate the premises for an extended period of time.