After Coronavirus: Business Continuity Plans Are Essential
The modern world has never seen anything like the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the economic chaos it has caused. But eventually, as things slowly begin to normalize and more and more businesses reopen their doors after the pandemic, it’s important to have a cohesive business continuity plan (BCP) in place. Every executive and business owner should have, or at least be thinking about, a BCP for emergencies; and a widespread pandemic like COVID-19 more than qualifies.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A business continuity plan is a document or series of documents that outline procedures and processes that help mitigate the impact of a disaster or emergency. A well-planned BCP explains what needs to be done and who is responsible for getting a business back up and running after unthinkable disaster strikes. Being able to act quickly under pressure — be it natural disaster (flood, fire, etc.), attack, server failure, or disease outbreak — is crucial in protecting your livelihood and the safety of your employees. This is particularly important considering that FEMA estimates 40% of businesses that experience a natural or human-made disaster never reopen, while 25% of those that do reopen fail within a year.
Why a Business Continuity Plan is Important
Now, a BCP/disaster recovery plan might sound complicated — and that’s because it is. Its complexity may cause some small business owners to shy away from the task. Perhaps BCPs are simply overlooked because of myriad day-to-day operational priorities that take precedence over non-imminent existential threats. Nevertheless, most smaller companies without a plan are unable to stabilize if they do not reopen within 5 days of a disaster.
Meanwhile, 20% of large corporations spend an average of 10 days per month reviewing, revising and rehearsing their BCP. Big companies know the importance of protecting their livelihood and so should small ones. Creating a comprehensive BCP does take some time, careful thought and strategy, but requires little monetary cost. In the end, you aren’t just being paranoid — you’re protecting your and your employees’ livelihoods; and if the recent COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that mother nature can wreak very real havoc without warning.
What is in a Business Continuity Plan?
The contents of a business continuity plan depend entirely on your industry and business model. Do you rely on eCommerce or web traffic? Then having a plan to mitigate server shutdowns might be in order. Do you have a brick-and-mortar retail store in a flood or fire-prone region? Time to start planning for natural disasters.
Nevertheless, various US government agencies and other organizations have many resources for small business owners to reference, including:
- FEMA Emergency Resources for Businesses
- FINRA Business Continuity Plan Template
- Ready.gov Emergency Response Plan
- Department of Homeland Security: Preparing For Emergency
- OSHA Emergency Evacuation Planning
- Ready.gov How to Implement Emergency Plans
Penalties For Not Having a Business Continuity Plan
If you’re still on the fence or unconvinced that your business needs a business continuity plan, you should also know that not having a plan carries penalties.
OSHA states that all businesses, with very few exceptions, must have an emergency action plan in place. They are legally able to inspect your business at any time and may leverage hefty fines if minimum requirements are not met.
If something serious does indeed go wrong and you have no plan in place to mitigate the damage, you can rest assured that your reputation will be in tatters, the downtime costs you experience will probably be impossible to recover from, and you may be held liable if an employee or customer dies on your watch.
Don’t be a victim to Murphy’s Law (“what can go wrong, will go wrong.”) Instead, make preparations for the worst and know that it can happen at any point. Besides planning and implementation, communication is key. If your employees don’t know their roles in getting the company back up and running, your careful planning is all for naught. Let each employee know their role, run occasional drills, and revisit the plans every so often to make revisions if circumstances change.
Workplace Coronavirus Disinfection for Your Continuity Plan
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world that disaster can strike without warning; a virus doesn’t have feelings or motivations. It will affect anyone in its path, so being prepared is of utmost importance.
If worse comes to worst and your business experiences a COVID-19 infection, there’s no need to panic. Aftermath’s OSHA-compliant COVID-19 cleanup services is a tool, available 24/7, in your business continuity plan’s arsenal. We adhere to a stringent coronavirus demobilization process for our equipment, trucks, and waste storage areas and also have the proper licensing/permitting abiding by federal, state and local regulations.
Contact our team for more information on our coronavirus cleaning methods or call 877-769-6917.