On March 11, 2020, the world woke up to an alarming reality: COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This announcement led to a series of events that would transform people’s lifestyles globally. The rapid spread of the virus across boundaries has led to worldwide enforcement of quarantine and social distancing norms.
While it is important to keep yourselves within the confinement of your homes, the same can be said for your businesses. The current situation does not allow companies to entertain their employees within a general public workspace. Hence, companies are continuously making efforts to switch to work from home culture as it is conspicuous that this trend is here to stay.
COVID-19 has restricted the movement of people and their ability to travel to work, but as the saying goes — the show must go on. The limitations of quarantine must not translate to one’s operations at work. In fact, there are many methods to ensure minimum disruptions under these conditions.
What is Business Continuity?
According to the Business Continuity Institute, “Business continuity is about having a plan to deal with difficult situations, so your organization can continue to function with as little disruption as possible”. Whether your company is facing a recession, natural disaster or, in this case, a pandemic, it must strive to resolve unforeseen issues and continue operations. To ensure general business continuity, you need to construct a plan beforehand that your management and employees can follow without any confusion.
Before you organise a general plan of action for the situation, you need to analyse certain factors. One question that you must ask yourself is—what are the inevitable changes arising in my industry due to the coronavirus? Across industries, most businesses will have the following concerns:
Companies are now, more than ever, considering ways of digitising and flourishing their business online. Prime importance has to be given to social media content and developing engaging websites with online resources. For example, magazines and newspapers are now available in e-format for easy access.
Now that employees are working from home, it makes little sense for organisations to invest in bulky infrastructure and hardware. More and more companies are adopting cloud technology and AI, thereby moving their work operations on the Internet to avail its various benefits. While digitisation refers to the online availability of the business for customers, digitalisation is the shift in work operations to online resources.
3. Remote Working
Self-imposed or enforced quarantine around the world has led people to work out of their homes. In some situations, work-from-home is preferred to the traditional set-up. The general concept (while disadvantageous to some) has benefited companies that utilise digital services to facilitate work operations.
4. Supply Chains
The general movement of goods and services is one of the biggest concerns of every business owner. Companies are reconsidering supply chains as the situation does not allow for easy access to materials.
There are certainly a lot of changes that have interrupted industries. However, there are many steps that can be put in motion to ensure business continuity during these turbulent times.
Disaster Management Team
Unforeseen events are inevitable, and 2020 is a mere reminder of that. However, it is still possible to prepare for such emergencies. Employ a disaster management team that can take decisive actions on account of the company. The team may consist of representatives from different departments who could contribute their expertise on the matter and add to the relevance of the plan for the said department.
Most importantly, this set-up will enable constant communication with the various shareholders, customers, and employees of your organisation. You should monitor the performance of this team regularly. With an abundance of information, both helpful and fake, making rounds on the Internet, this disaster management team must keep the general situation in check.
Experts in Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity planning is easier said than done. Your management might be able to carry it out on their own, but the hiring of professionals promises assured results. Contact experts in business continuity to carve an ideal path for your brand to take. Consulting specialists in the field will not only increase your chances of success but also give you insight on certain matters that may not be evident to those working at your company. Moreover, this saves your employees’ time and allows them to focus on their key tasks.
Tangible hardware is soon to become a thing of the past. The Internet, equipped with cloud services, allows businesses to store their information online and access it from numerous locations. Remote working is so much easier when there is no requirement of bulky infrastructure. Your employees can access data from anywhere in the world.
Take customer services, for example. Cloud telephony—IVR, call recording, toll-free numbers—allows you to connect with your customers, regardless of the device in use. A caller can be rerouted to the preferred agent, who in turn can answer the call on any device they find convenient. Companies are increasingly opting for cloud telephony solutions due to their convenience and availability of cost-effective models in the market.
Digitalised and Digitised Information
As mentioned earlier, companies are shifting to the Internet as no one is leaving their houses any time soon. If your company does not have a strong online presence, now is the time to build and market it. Individuals in quarantine can only be reached via the Net.
Generally, everyone has been relying on Google Search for information in the past decade. Now that other options are being further nullified, it leaves the online world as the primary source. Hence, if your consumers cannot access your online presence, you are essentially losing them. Whatever you offer must be available on the Internet.
The same goes for behind-the-scenes jobs. Your employees cannot travel to the office and are most likely to prefer work from home, especially in times like these. Digitalising your work means that your staff can contribute to the businesses and log work hours without being physically present. It is not only safe but also convenient.
The last few months have made people more cautious about safety standards. Business continuity in a pandemic must address this issue of security on a priority basis.
If your organisation deals with tangible goods, you must ensure that the process of delivery is generally safe and sanitised. As an employer, it is also your responsibility to make sure your personnel are safe and not risking their health for the company.
You can expect people to be confused and frazzled over the current state of affairs. However, the said confusion must not be passed on to a consumer when they reach out to your organisation. Stellar customer service is still as important, if not more, in the current situation.
Customers’ queries must be answered efficiently to ensure consumer satisfaction. Additionally, keep reminding them of your brand’s general existence for recall value. The more the consumer is aware of your company, the more likely it is that they contact you for business instead of your competitors. Building a trustworthy bond between the client and company will boost loyalty and, therefore, raise profits. There are high expectations from cloud telephony technology for the coming years. Use AI-powered cloud telephony for the most convenient technology employed at the backed.
COVID-19 has been one of the most turbulent factors of the 2000s and the pandemic has changed life for several coming months at the very least. It might take a little time, but several steps can be taken to avoid major damage to your business. You can battle the uncertainty of events with proper planning that will assist your company to resist these changes and function normally. Using cloud services, employing business continuity experts and establishing a crisis management team, you can make sure business continuity is not affected in these unforeseen circumstances.