Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Coronavirus (or COVID-19) as pandemic. The virus is already impacting many day-to-day activities including mass gatherings (conferences, concerts, sport events) which get postponed, cancelled or moved online (web conferencing).
On the other hand, the organizations worldwide are facing increased pressure due to COVID-19 which is already disrupting business operations of many companies.
The questions is How prepared is your organization for Coronavirus?
We have identified some of the most common risks around COVID-19 and come up with the recommendations to address those risks.
Coronavirus Business Risks
Your organization can be affected by Coronavirus in any or all of the following ways:
- COVID-19 can affect your staff, clients and partners:
- Inability to meet in person and/or travel
- Difficulty obtaining new business
- Infection of staff with Coronavirus:
- Quarantine requirements
- Avoiding public spaces
- Communication challenges throughout COVID-19 pandemic
Recommendations to Address Coronavirus Risks
First of all, your staff, clients and partners may be more sensitive to in-person meetings and travel due to COVID-19.
How do you address this risk? Use technology!
You may leverage the use of communication and collaboration tools to facilitate audio and video conferencing and document sharing (if you didn’t have such capability in place). This will help to reduce business interruption and impact on revenue flow.
Secondly, it is essential to ensure the remote work capabilities within your organization are sufficient. This way your organization will be prepared for potential quarantine requirements arising from COVID-19 pandemic.
Believe it or not, the recommendation here is the same – use technology! Now is a great time to test the remote work capabilities for all or majority of staff (if not now, then when?).
Here are a few things to consider when preparing to work remotely:
- Ensure that there are sufficient VPN and Remote Access functions that allow for all services to be available outside of the office in a secure manner.
- Ensure that email and file services are all available securely outside of the office through standard internet services, and mobility is in place (and currently in use) for key systems and services.
- Forwarding of voice services to staff cellular phones to allow mobility and work from home functions.
- Communicate to staff to reinforce time off work or work from home in the event of sickness.
As it turns out, communication with internal and external stakeholders is typically the most important yet challenging activity for most organizations. Especially during COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are a few recommendations to help you with this essential side of business:
- Establish a central contact number for updates and communication.
- Use of a combination of email, phone and SMS services based on criticality of the information being communicated.
- Cross training to ensure availability of backup staff for key business functions.
- Use of online communication tools (Teams, Email, Phone) to avoid direct contact.
- Ensure that clients are aware of any changes to services.
- Communication of important information to all staff to provide regular updates (regular bulletin).
Believe it or not, Coronavirus outbreak is also a perfect opportunity for organizations to test their Business Continuity Plan (BCP) or establish one if they didn’t have it. By the way, we regularly test our BCP and Teleworking capabilities as part of our compliance with ISO 27001 certification to ensure we can continuously provide our services.
In the case of COVID-19, BCP testing and refinement process can look like this:
- Identify key staff to be part of the Crisis Management Team, perform a tabletop exercise.
- Test work from home functions along with communication streams (broadcast email, phone and SMS).
- Integrate lessons learned to refine policies/processes.
The Greatest Wealth is Health
Fair enough, these are just a few recommendations of how your organization could address the risks arising from Coronavirus.
In our experience, having the above-mentioned processes and capabilities in place gradually reduces the pressure put on companies by external factors (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic).
However, the most important in life is health, or as we say at Genieall: The Greatest Wealth is Health. Please always keep that in mind.
Stay healthy and be productive!