Coronavirus disease 2019 or more commonly known as COVID-19 has been affecting all businesses globally and if you own or run a business, we believe you are somehow affected in one way or another.

In order to continue profit, you must make your operations resilient in times of crisis. Amidst the chaos and panic, we understand that business must go on, hence we have listed down some things to consider which might help you and your company in these times.

Educate Yourself and Your Team

First on the list to ensure you are on top of the situation. It is critical to understand and know what you are facing, as of this writing its COVID-19. Understand how this flu-like virus behaves, transfer and how it can be avoided. Ensure that you discuss and educate this with your staff and team. The more you equip yourselves with information, the more prepare your company could become. 

One quick tip, if you don’t want to read the medical journals and long research studies, you can always look for Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs) to save you some reading time. Start now and check out the World Health Organization’s Q&A for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Review Your Operational Structure

Once you know how COVID-19 works, begin to review your operational structure. Determine which are the core and critical staff from the support staff. Identify which functions and projects that can be pushed at the back burner. Review your deliverables and schedules to make sure you are ready in case your operation begins to flow roughly.

Things could get messy during a crisis scenario but knowing your chess pieces and how it works makes planning really easy and effective. Learn which team or staff can be moved and can provide support remotely. If they continue their normal operations while not in the office, then you are set to go.

Assess & Address Social-Emotional Concerns

There is a lot of information out there, sometimes it’s useful while most are not. And the last thing you want to happen is for your people to start panicking. Once your team starts to panic, it disables them to operate and think like in the regular days. The concerns grow in the middle of chaos, which is not addressed properly, could become an expensive liability.

To avoid this, you must practice good leadership and ensure to communicate with your staff, your team and everyone else within your company. Do not show that you are also afraid and lost during this pandemic incident, but instead, take this a chance to connect and inspire your team. Check for their and their family’s well being, and provide assurance that the business is here to provide support to the best it can. If you have followed our first step, you should then be alright.

Plan & Execute Your Resiliency Strategy

Always remember, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. While you are still not affected and are not under disaster recovery mode, take this opportunity to plan your resiliency strategy. Take the following fundamentals to make your very first resiliency plan:

  1. Identify your plan owner and participants.
  2. List down all possible incidents that could impact you and your business.
  3. For each incident, identify your approach and strategy on how to recover.
  4. Map your people and their recovery strategy. (ie. Work from home or Relocate to another site)
  5. Test or execute your plan.

There are no hard rules on the format and style as long as you know the fundamentals. However, keep in mind that there is also an in-depth standard for Crisis Management, Business Resiliency, and Disaster Recovery, although, for now, you can start with the above method.

Upgrade Your Situational Awareness

Having a plan and knowing about the virus is not enough, ensure that you also know the growing numbers. Know the case numbers for suspected, confirmed and cleared gives you a better overview of what’s happening out there. You use the math skills you have learned during school days to analyze ratios, probabilities, and projections which could help you make proper operational decisions.

You can check out the Philippines’ Department of Health COVID-19 Informational Page to know if the numbers on your location or your clients’ area. You can also check Sandra Tabinas’ Tableau Dashboard for COVID-19 Cases in Metro Manila which is also DOH data-driven. If you are looking for much more data on a global scale, you can check out the ESRI ArcGIS OpsDashboard for COVID-19 made and maintained by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), which one of the first to track this case since it started last December 2019.

Inform Your Vendors & Stakeholders

You have now made significant actions for your business and your team, but it doesn’t end there. It is also important to determine if you need to notify your vendors, clients, and stakeholders. Every decision you are about to make, whether you will close or operate in shorter office hours, you need to update your customers. Business is a relationship, and every relationship requires communication. If you are in a regulated industry, you are required to report some activities if you invoke your resiliency plans. Every great business has a great communication strategy whether it’s for marketing, sales promotions or even for this case, during a crisis.

Be Flexible & Prepare for Lessons Learned

The above steps are already solid and will help your business become more resilient, unfortunately, anything could happen during a crisis, therefore you must keep a flexible mindset. Always be ready and adapt to the changes as things could suddenly turn left. And of course, the same with your plan. It could also not go smoothly but always remember to list down your difficulties and take it as part of Lessons Learned for review once all the dust has settled.

It could be difficult sometimes, however, just imagine that every incident is like a journey, you may experience it again but never the same. At least when you are about to embark on a new one, you would know what to do next and will probably discover the opportunities that come along with it.

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