From time to time we are reminded we need to ensure our Businesses are building resilience to any outside or inside forces that could occur from time to time. Basically, how do we keep our business running during an incident/ disaster, or how do we get our business back up running after a disaster. It also might be the training of our staff to ensure they are resilient in the workplace and in their tasks/ job roles.
Being resilient is no more important than it is now, with the COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, however, this one will definitely be once the disaster – Health Emergency is over, as we know it has been a difficult couple of months since the first case of COVID-19 landed in Australia, and as the infections rise, it is only going to get a little harder for another couple of months as yet, they are expecting peak period to be the end of April, early May, and could possibly go on for another 5-6 months, therefore finishing around Sept 2020.
Think a lot of businesses with their Business Continuity Plans, had thought about a range of incidents which could happen within their business, and many probably thought that there was nothing which could wipe out there the whole workforce, even often the flu only gets a certain smallish % of infections throughout the workplace, where through a pandemic, like the COVID -19 whole industries have been wiped out, or basically cancelled by the Government closing down industries, to try and limit the spread of the infections and slow them down, so the Hospitals have more time to plan and prepare to respond.
What I have learned with the COVID-19 and communicating with Business owners about their Business Continuity Plans,
- Businesses thought a Medical condition e.g. Flu would wipe out less than 50% of their staff allowing the business to continue.
- Sole traders thought if I get the flu I will take 2-3 weeks off work but then I shall be able to continue to run my business.
- Businesses not having a Business Continuity Plan in place
- Businesses have not tested their Business continuity Plans to know if they work or not
- Businesses have never thought about industries being stopped by the Government,
- Businesses have not thought about what else can they do, should something happen to their industry
- Coaches, Mentors have niched themselves to industries, and suddenly an industry is closed down, they don’t have the clients to work with as easily.
- An industry can be completely shut down by the Government and overnight.
- Unfortunately, people don’t want to follow the Governments recommendations and therefore the Government is forced into legislating the requirements to ensure they happen
- Business owners need support to help them implement their plans or to help clarify the implementation of the plans
In general terms, the BCP is important at any stage, and I believe with having something like the COVID-19 pandemic is 2020, it will only help to improve Business Continuity Plans/ Crisis Plans in the future which might be a good thing.
As a country we rely on China to supply a lot of things, which also helps us to pay minimal for products, however many did not have plans in place for another supplier once china was closed down due to the Pandemic of this nature, therefore many companies have not been able to get supplies in to ensure they can continue to offer the full range of products in which they normally do. None of us would have planned for Freezers to sell out in the majority of retail outlets, not many of us would have thought about Hand Sanitisers running out of supplies in a short period.
What the Services Australia- Centrelink debacle showed us, was to ensure the systems- websites are ready to receive all the extra usage which it may get when something like this happens, although for business owners it might be a Promotion you are running to get extra clients and extra people to your website if your website can’t handle the extra visitors and keep crashing it won’t help your business.
I think it demonstrates our BCP’s need to be better planned, and all business owners need to spend the few hours one day to think about the Hazards, risks, etc to their business and take time to understand their risks, and what can happen to their business and how they can minimize or eliminate these risks from affecting their business.
Business owners need to test their BCP’s to ensure they can work and will work during implementation or make any slight tweaks they need to in order to improve them, similar to testing your fire alarms each year, although this is mandated where a BCP is not, but should make no difference.
Business owners need to have a better understanding of workplace legislation, or at least Identified a consulted they can call on at short notice to help them understand their requirements during a disaster of this nature, as it helps you to respond and one less thing you need to consider at the time.
People in general but also Business owners need to take directives better from the Government before they are legislation, and for this sort of thing the café’s/ Bars, etc which were allowed to remain open, but did not restrict the social distance between patrons which was recommended by Government, etc, for example, the big tables and seats which normally have 8 on a table, still allowed 8 on the table and during the restrictions should have been reduced to 4. I understand social distancing was a new term to many people, and it can be difficult for many people to judge distance by the naked eye and tape measures do need to be used, however, whilst limiting the people in your venues would have reduced your income for a short period, you are now having no income because a lot of people, including business owners/ Management thought the recommendation did not need to be followed if people did not want to, and it has now affected a lot of businesses.
Whilst I am concerned for many business owners, including myself, I am hoping the economy will start to improve soon and businesses will be given the all-clear to return back to operations, in the near future, however, in the meantime may Businesses owner and former employees who might get jobs back just need to ride out the next 2-3 months before we see any change in the situation.
If you are one of the lucky businesses still operating at present, now is the time to quickly assess what else can do to help your business, service or product, ensure you can work from home, this includes yourself and your staff, do they have everything they need to work from home in a safe manner.
Good luck, stay well, stay positive, and reach out to someone if you need assistance or to talk, whether you are currently able to run your business or not, there are plenty of people out there ready to assist you in some way.