Following on from Monday's article looking at Business Continuity & Managing COVID-19, this article looks at some key considerations to address when looking at your immediate business response to this global pandemic.
As the Government's recent $12.1 billion injection into the New Zealand economy showed, we're well beyond wondering if COVID-19 will have an impact on business in New Zealand. The pertinent questions now are, just how big will the impact be and are you prepared for it? At both a governance and management level you really need to be addressing these questions now.
Monday's article raised seven practical actions you need to take immediately. If you missed it, you can read it here – www.bit.ly/business-continuity-covid-19
Being in business has inherent risks and you can never remove them all. You do however have a responsibility, to yourself and your employees, to consider risks and look at ways to mitigate them.
Below are five steps you can take with your team when looking at your business continuity in response to COVID-19. Also included are some practical considerations.
Click any of the steps below to jump to that section:
These risks will be both internal and external. Some you'll be able to manage, but others will be completely out of your control and all that you'll be able to manage is your response. Here are some examples:
The above lists can go on, and on depending on your business. The key is to stop and identify what the risks are before taking action
As you can see from the above, the number of risks can be many. But you can scale your risks by looking at:
Alternatively, you can use good old common sense, discuss the risks with your team, work out which ones are likely to cause the most issues, and start to look at your options.
The key takeaway at this stage is that you should be having these conversations now, even if you don’t think the risks are immediate. As we’re seeing with COVID-19, things are moving and changing rapidly.
Sometimes it’s easy to jump to solutions but taking the time and looking at the various options available to you, and more importantly discussing these with people across your organisation, will undoubtedly help.
As you look at the various options, don’t just look at things from a management level, bring in any staff that may be affected and seek advice from them. Also, consider external advice and look at things from your customers' perspectives.
So, you've thought things through and made some decisions about what actions you need to take. The next stage is to get things underway and communicate what you're doing.
Identify and document, and keep it simple, by focusing on:
In the current business environment communication is critical both internally and externally.
Internally, let all staff know what's going on. Keep the feedback loop going and keep assuring people about what you're doing and what's happening.
Externally, keep customers, suppliers, and service providers in the loop as much as you can or as much as you need to.
Things will return to normal at some point, although that normal may not be the same as it was a month ago, or six months ago, or at any other time in the past. And, recovery may take time with some pundits predicting it will take the remainder of this year, while others say COVID-19 effects will run well into 2021.
So once you get through your immediate challenges, start having discussions with your staff about what will happen when normal service does resume with questions such as:
Business continuity for most has been a theoretical exercise until now, unless they were impacted by the Christchurch or Kaikōura earthquakes. So now is the time to take a moment, look at the risks, consider what you’ll do and keep the lines of communication open. Kia kaha New Zealand!
In the coming days, weeks and months, we'll keep you updated with regards to COVID-19 and doing business in New Zealand.