Anne-Marie Saint-John, Alva, Long Island City, NY >
From small independent companies through international enterprises, COVID-19 has hit almost all industries in all countries hard and fast. When you consider that SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 have all occurred in the past 50 years, it’s no surprise that global scientists are predicting even more pandemics in our future. Because of this, is now something all companies need to consider.
In this post, we offer practical guidance to help you prepare your business for another pandemic.
#1 Make sure you have a disaster recovery plan in place
In the event of a future pandemic, companies must have a disaster recovery (DR) program in place, which might include things like repatriation, evacuation, or relocation of a typical workspace. Other considerations include IT and access to company equipment and information. We will cover the use of technology in a later section, but keep in mind that being versatile remains an essential component of a DR planning process.
You can outsource this task to an expert or you can take care of it in-house. Here’s a link to an article on for your company.
#2 Make sure you create crystal-clear communications for all
Let employees know what assistance is available to them in a timely, concise fashion. Remind staff members of the employee benefits offered to them – such as worldwide employee assistance programs Virtual GP and EAPS – to help them manage their physical and mental well-being. With nonurgent in-person appointments unavailable during lockdown, being able to access overall health services via the internet could be important for employees who are affected.
Besides to staff, you should also plan your client and supplier communications. Keep a uniform approach throughout, and make sure you stay in regular contact with all parties. Always be realistic in your communications; it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than to set up false hopes or expectations.
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#3 Only follow guidelines from reputable sources
When emotions are running high throughout a pandemic and unverified content is flooding internet channels, it’s important that businesses reference factually accurate information. The World Health Organization (WHO) is considered one such respected source of information concerning international health, offering companies peace of mind that they’re sharing the most current guidelines. Understanding which sources to believe is essential.
#4 Embrace technology and modernize your operations
Investing in technology can help your organization be prepared so that it can gain productivity benefits that are considered to be “pandemic proof.” Take working remotely as an example. With just , it is apparent that working at home will remain in place for long after the pandemic. Looking back, COVID-19 may be hailed as the catalyst that made remote work mainstream and commonplace.
Investing in technology that allows a remote workforce does not merely safeguard the company is the best way to prepare for future pandemic-like situations. IT companies have spoken about the benefits of cloud computing for over a decade, and it’s taken the pandemic to all but force companies down this road. Indeed, without embracing such technologies, remote workforces at the scale they are today would not have been possible or productive.
#5 Take a customer-centric approach
From an IT as well as a business viewpoint, the toughest aspects of managing a business during a pandemic are those elements involving functions that were previously handled face to face.
Technology can help to fix this particular issue, through increased use of websites, email, strong messaging, and outgoing call technologies. It must be recognized, though, that in a pandemic, telephone and website traffic is going to increase significantly because alternate routes of business and social interaction will be closed or unable to deal with a regular volume of traffic.
During a pandemic, a firm’s social media channels and website become the window of the business. It’s important to make sure your staff is multi-skilled in these areas. It can make your customers’ experience better and solutions speedier and more resolute.
There’s No Such Thing as Business as Usual During a Pandemic
As much as people may want a business to operate “as usual,” during a pandemic, it’s important to remember that this is about survival. The focus of pandemic planning should be on ensuring that primary activities are kept online, albeit at decreased capacity.
Making sure the core business keeps running – specifically, that there are enough trained and competent staff members to keep the firm afloat – is first and foremost. To achieve this resilience, management should clearly identify which functions and businesses in the company are vital to the primary functions of the business.
If another pandemic occurs, high-quality communications and knowledge of trusted sources of information about health and well-being, along with detailed plans for supporting employees on a global scale, will have a major impact on the prosperity of employees and businesses alike.
We see first-hand the devastating impact a pandemic can have on both our businesses and our personal lives. Because of this, we appreciate the importance of how we prepare for another pandemic. Ensuring the survival of businesses throughout and beyond another pandemic means looking at people, training, access, communications, infrastructure, travel, technology, support, and more.