Business continuity planning during COVID-19
Maintaining smooth operations is critical to any business’ success. CCIWA Employee Relations Officer Madeleine Pittorino explains the importance of business continuity planning during the pandemic.
What is business continuity planning?
With COVID-19 community transmission already in play, many businesses are understandably concerned about the stability of their operations.
Key challenges facing WA business during community transmission may include:
- Workforce disruption, such as employees self-isolating, or accessing leave when they are COVID positive or caring for a COVID-positive family member;
- Supply chain delays and disruptions due to staff absences;
- Changing demand for goods and services; and
- Changing Government response.
"To ensure businesses can continue operating during these challenging times, undertaking business continuity planning is going to be critical," says CCIWA Employee Relations Officer Madeleine Pittorino. "This process will assist businesses to continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service."
"Business continuity planning is about building and improving resilience in your business, so you can be ready for a crisis — giving you the best shot at recovering from the crisis and getting you back to running your business in the quickest time possible.
"Business continuity plans (BCP) consider the impact of crises on the business and outline how operations will continue to manage during these unforeseen disruptive times."
Why should businesses implement a Business Continuity Plan?
BCPs involve identifying and assessing core services and functions of your business and what underpins them.
By considering these services and functions, and determining what is essential to maintain critical operations (e.g. key people, key equipment), you are ensuring stability and security in your business.
What is included in a Business Continuity Plan?
When developing a BCP, you need to obtain all the relevant information regarding your core business tasks and critical business functions.
The first step is to identify essential business functions, processes, assets, services, key business partners and key sectors of the workforce. These are the functions that your business would not survive without.
Once this has been completed, the next step is to conduct a Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment. The Business Impact Analysis identifies the impact COVID-19 community transmission may have on your business. The Risk Assessment then identifies the controls that need to be put in place and ensures priority areas are the key focus.
"Once you have conducted the above, you can develop an emergency response plan and communicate the strategy to relevant stakeholders," says Pittorino.
Your BCP should contain content such as:
- the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders;
- prevention and protection responses (e.g. working from home);
- business units impacts and risks; and
- important documents (e.g. main contacts).
It should include, for example, strategies for managing client expectations, planning of and managing staff absenteeism, strategies to obtain financial support and employee mental health.
"It is important to note that your business’s continuity plan should be continuously reviewed to ensure its effectiveness, as the nature of COVID-19 and its impact on businesses is forever changing," says Pittorino.
If your business does not currently have a business continuity plan in place, or you need assistance developing a business continuity plan, contact CCIWA’s Human Resources Consultants on 08 9365 7496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.