Don’t panic! While a global pandemic may or may not be soon, it’s important to stay informed on the situation and take preventative measures. Precaution is always better than dealing with repercussions. While COVID-19 will have a lot of individual and livelihood impacts, today let’s talk about the toll it can take on your business. Like I said, don’t panic! By knowing all these impacts in advance, you can plan ahead and deal with less of a financial loss.
From an economical standpoint, the number one thing you need to realize is that a Pandemic is an operational risk to your company. This kind of large-scale disturbance is not the same as a normal business disruption. A pandemic should be controlled by the highest level of the organization as it affects every single department of the company. You need to understand that employee absenteeism accounts for a huge chunk of your operational loss. While people are quarantined or recovering, they may not be able to work, which could impact your business.
According to a Gartner Study, Here are 5 business conditions that you NEED to keep in mind:
- “Multilocation enterprises will likely be more affected than those with a single location.
- The key business impact trigger will be a result of quarantines, travel restrictions, school closures, and sick family members.
- Supply chain and third-party pandemic preparedness are critical.
- Technology can help organizations better adapt to the changing situation.
- Consider cultural and religious differences in preparedness plans.”1
If you’re interested, you can download Gartner’s ‘Overcoming COVID-19 Through Pandemic Preparedness’ study here
Now that you are aware of the above conditions, let’s discuss how to properly prepare and execute a smooth yet safe business transition:
- Supply-Chains are going to be majorly affected. As the coronavirus is beginning to spread outside of Asia, global factories are starting to shut down. With this unforeseen closure, businesses will have to bear an operational loss. As a leader, you need to be ready to be quick on your feet and make tough decisions on the spot. Talk to your business partners and learn what business continuity plans they have in place.
- At this moment a lot is unpredictable, and things are quickly changing. With this comes a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. To combat these emotions, make sure to stay informed by checking local government websites and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations regularly.
- In the case of quarantine, I recommend having a contingency plan in place if you don’t already. Make use of technology! Find a way to schedule remote meetings with your employees. Discuss and prepare your office beforehand of this possibility. Put into motion a schedule to check in with everyone. Find a way to ensure work is still being accomplished while also remembering to maintain respect and concern for your staff.
COVID-19 is presenting new and unique challenges to businesses as a whole. Instead of seeing this as a threat, I urge you to take the necessary steps to ensure business continuity is not compromised. Start to put a plan in motion for your employees and make sure they all stay informed about the evolving situation. Just as you would have redundancy built into your radio networks, or how you may use two-way radios as backup communications in the event of cellular system failure, it is important to always have a Plan B in place.
1. Witty Roberta, and Venecia Liu. “Overcoming COVID-19 Through Pandemic Preparedness.” Gartner, 24 Feb. 2020, www.gartner.com/en/doc/721123-winning-in-the-turns-overcoming-covid-19-through-pandemic-preparedness.