COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. As of 12 March 2020, there are 125,865 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with a death-rate of 3.5%. The border controls and drop in customer confidence have contributed to major downturns in the aviation and tourism industries.
However, the impacts of a global pandemic are unlikely to stop at these industries. It is essential that all businesses look closely at their operations, organizational culture and planning to ensure their business survives this outbreak.
These are the best Pandemic Planning and Coronavirus resources recommended to BCP Builder by the Business Continuity Community on LinkedIn:
World Health Organization – information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (United States) have an informative site outlining:
- “What you should know”
- Situation updates
- Information for specific groups
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (Europe) – all the latest information on the cases of COVID-19.
UK Government – find out the number of cases and risk level in the UK, what to do if you’re a returning traveler, and what the government is doing about the virus.
For travelers and everyone dealing with global and travel security this page is very valuable: International SOS. It provides information on travel restrictions, flight operations and screening.
Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) have a live time map showing the spread of the NCov virus. This includes up to date statistics on:
- Total confirmed cases
- Confirmed cases by Country/ Region/ Sovereignty
- Total deaths
- Total recovered
Pandemic planning presents a number of significant challenges to business continuity planning.
- It may happen at scale
- Its duration
- Simultaneous impacting issues
- Enquiries from regulators, and customers
And your problems may not be limited to the above.
How can you plan for a pandemic?
- Working from home is a good option if your solution is scalable (meaning most of your staff could work from home at the same time if required) and working processes allow it.
- Be compassionate. Empower your staff to say they are ill or have been in contact with someone who has become ill. If you do not embed this in your organizational culture now, sick staff will come to work and infect their colleagues.
- Have protocols in place to ensure those attending your work location are infection free.
- Consider splitting teams and alternating them working from home and your location.
- Have protocols for managing those who display symptoms or become ill at work.
- Encourage good hygiene. Provide hand sanitizer, encourage regular hand-washing and increase your cleaning schedule.
- Consider your local health authorities guidelines as part of your business continuity plan. Keep abreast of daily developments and base your decision making on the latest information.
- Consider those at highest risk, in this case older employees and those with underlying medical issues.
- Suspend face to face meetings with clients or customers.
- Open a dialogue with your critical suppliers. If their organization is disrupted by the pandemic, either through illness or a downturn in sales they could be in trouble. If they fail, then you have lost a key supplier.
- Alert your customers, financiers and stakeholders, to manage their expectations.
- Ensure you manage yourself and your staff well-being. It is likely to be a demanding marathon. So set a new sustainable business cadence.
Coronavirus – Pandemic Plan Template
If you want to increase your Organizational Resilience, start with preparing a Business Continuity Plan and check out BCP Builder’s Business Continuity Planning Templates.
If you want to ensure your plan covers all the elements required for a pandemic, read through the below paper and use it as a guide when completing your business continuity plan.
Pandemic Planning and Implementation for Business Resiliency
This paper was published on the Business Continuity Institute website, and written by Laura Zarrillo (Italy).
It’s a comprehensive document which outlines the main resilience arrangements to be considered in an Infectious Disease and Pandemic Plan:
- Human Resources
- Internal and External Communications
- Health and Safety/ Facilities
- Supply Chain
- Activities to perform on a regular basis