Pandemic Planning for Business Continuity

  • March 19, 2020
  • Quantivate

Operational resiliency is essential in times of crisis. And a comprehensive business continuity program helps organizations plan for, and succeed through, a range of possible events — natural disasters, pandemic illness, equipment or facilities failures, and other incidents that could interrupt critical business processes.

But sometimes the scenarios that seem least likely to happen get neglected in business continuity plan updates. Recent events surrounding the novel coronavirus outbreak and subsequent declaration of a global COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization have shown that organizations that fail to prepare do so at great risk.

Pandemic Planning Steps

Even if your organization is struggling to catch up with business continuity or pandemic planning, there are some steps you can take to accelerate the process.

In its “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stresses that “all employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations” and recommends the following foundational steps, which are also good practices for general business continuity planning:

1. Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.

Get started: Assemble a pandemic response team and create a pandemic plan, if needed, or ensure existing plans are up to date. Starting from scratch? Accelerate the process using a pandemic plan template.

2. Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.

Get started: If you have a maintenance schedule for your business continuity plans, make sure the pandemic plan is included in any testing or update processes. Common approaches to identifying gaps are scenario/tabletop exercises and plan walkthroughs.

3. Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.

Get started: If your organization uses business continuity software, make sure to alert staff once your pandemic plan has been created or updated using any built-in notification or distribution options.

Pandemic Planning Resources

To help you take the next step, we’ve assembled some free pandemic planning resources and training.

On-Demand Webinar: Preparing for a Pandemic

Hear from a Certified Business Resilience Auditor on pandemic planning considerations surrounding personnel, policies, and plan implementation, including:

  • Understanding alert levels from external agencies
  • Assembling a pandemic team
  • Reviewing pandemic-related policies and documentation
  • Navigating the disaster declaration process
  • Maintaining and exercising your pandemic plan
  • Pandemic planning options included in Quantivate Business Continuity Software

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Free Pandemic Plan Template

Get a jumpstart on creating or updating your organization’s pandemic plan with this customizable template. It provides a structured approach to directing and coordinating your organization’s preparedness, response, and recovery planning in a pandemic scenario.

What you’ll find inside:

  • Plan structure overview
  • Pandemic planning phases
  • Team/department roles and responsibilities
  • Planning checklists for the executive, operations, HR, technology, marketing/media, and facilities teams
  • Recommended policies, procedures, and reports
  • Sample forms

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If you need assistance with business continuity or pandemic planning, please get in touch to learn about Quantivate’s Business Continuity Software and Services.