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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
To help you take the next step, we’ve assembled some free pandemic planning resources and training.
Hear from a Certified Business Resilience Auditor on pandemic planning considerations surrounding personnel, policies, and plan implementation, including:
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: