Business Continuity Amid COVID-19
Sometimes, disasters occur that are unpredictable and out of our control, including terrorism attacks, natural disasters, financial crises, and global health emergencies such as COVID-19. Presently, the COVID-19 pandemic is an uncertain and evolving situation that is shaping the way we live. Its effects are creating a ‘new normal,’ and businesses and governments are fighting to adjust to this new environment. Because of temporary closures, some organizations are losing a lot of revenue and are unable to continue vital services.
So, can a business really run amid a global crisis? With a business continuity plan, the answer is yes! Business continuity allows an organization to continue work, despite disruption or crisis. The heart of business continuity is automation, the ability to streamline your office operations through computer technology. Not only can it optimize business by saving time and money, it can also provide a firm foundation for business continuity amid unexpected circumstances.
Aon provides an example of how a strong business continuity plan allows an organization to continue operations despite a crisis. On February 26, 1993, the World Trade Center in New York City was bombed in a subterranean parking garage, causing businesses in the building to pause their operations for about a week. Employees were unable to work and a lot of revenue was lost. Although Aon did not operate from the World Trade Center at the time, the company took precautionary measures toward business continuity by automating their processes, updating their IT infrastructure, and consolidating their work with other office locations. Aon opened an office location at the World Trade Center later on and completed their consolidation just about a month before the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Despite this tragedy, Aon was able to shift its operations back to their other office locations because of their newly implemented automation.
In the midst of COVID-19, how can an organization plan for future disasters? First, adopt a mindset of mobility; strive to make information available anywhere at any time. Then, make a plan to implement different elements of office automation to streamline your operations, such as the following:
- Use laptops and Cloud or VPN technology to allow remote capabilities.
- Digitize workflow (applications, invoices, quotes, etc.)
- Integrate regulations and job knowledge into an automated system.
- Eliminate the paper mentality.
These are just a few ideas for an organization to promote efficient communication, collaboration, and remote access despite unexpected circumstances. As people continually rely on businesses and the government during this pandemic, it is vital that organizations find ways to continue operations and serve the community.