Business Continuity Plan BCP During Pandemic
Introduction: Business Continuity Plan BCP
Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a document that guides an organization to provide services during an emergency or incident. A BCP and business security during a pandemic is an effort to save businesses from collapsing. The unprecedented pandemic period keeps on coming back with new strains. This raises a big question and concerns over how long these businesses can sustain. There has been a very little effort from the Government of Nepal(GoN) to come up with the BCP during the pandemic to save small and medium enterprises SMEs. Instead, the GoN is very much engaged in saving its political reign at the moment. Small and medium enterprises survive on the ability to provide certain services on day-to-day activities. These SMEs require assistance, protection and cannot survive without support and guidance from the Government.
Regular Plans vs Pandemic Plans
At certain levels, there is a differentiation between BCP and business security during pandemic and regular times. During regular plans, organizations or SMEs believe that people will return to work after an incident or event like; storm, earthquake, outage, etc. These incidents are supposed to be there for a certain time. However, this pandemic is causing a long-term situation of uncertainty hence regular BCP plans will not help for this purpose. This pandemic taught and brought us a situation where most of the SME, felt that they did not have BCP. Travel Restrictions, Limited Employees, Health & Hygiene, Social Distancing are some of the things to be included in BCP during this pandemic.
Effects on Business due to Pandemic
- Pandemic affects businesses of every industrial sector. Some of the effects are:
- Downsizing of employees, contractors, workers
- Effects on business performance
- Restrictions on meetings and gatherings
- Travel restrictions
- Educational Institutions, Child care services, public transportation, industries remain closed.
As the lockdown/ restriction/ prohibitory period keeps on increasing, the effects will start to pile up. Thus, an organization will need to start setting up priorities for BCPs.
Firstly, an organization needs to identify key effects on business by determining its essential operations and functions that need to be carried out. The organization needs to focus preparing a list of organizational dependencies and put-up its contingency plans. Setting up a communication strategy and appropriate travel methods are another important factor that needs to have a BCP, a Planning for personnel, Equipment, Asset’s availability, Business commitments, Service Level Agreements, Accounting are other essential aspects that require proper planning.
What to consider in Planning?
For the employees who do not fall in priority to visit the office and can perform activities from home. Following are few plannings to consider.
- Documentation for controls, guidelines and procedures for safety.
- Emergency Response team to set up credentials for remote connectivity, communication strategies
- Information security awareness training to employees
- Essential operations like customer service, payments, payrolls management during the pandemic
- Updating employee contact information on a regular basis
- Managing checklist of activities performed on a day-to-day basis and monitoring.
- Prepare Cloud-based infrastructures
- Organize video-conferencing, Schedule conference and manage Team meetings
For the employees, who fall in priority and have to visit the office and perform essential activities, followings can be considered in the office.
- Maintaining physical distances in the workspace for the minimal possibility of contact
- Hand wash, soap, sanitizers and other safety masks are available in enough quantity
- Install a well ventilation systems for air circulation
- Using wide tables for meetings
- Encourage employees to keep their desk clean and use sanitizers before and after work
BCP during this pandemic has become very important topic among economists, business analysts and entrepreneurs. The PPRR is a risk management model for organizations to follow during pandemics. PPRR stands for preparedness, prevention, response and recovery
An organization can well prepare by identification and analysis of risks. It also requires the development of techniques for the management of risks
A preventive nature of the organization becomes clear with their Business Impact Analysis. This helps in setting up priorities by identifying critical business operations required for business survival. The effects of risks analyzed on business operations are also noted.
A response shows the reactiveness of the organization once the situation arrives. If the organization is well prepared and has Business Impact Analysis carried out before hand, they are quicker in responding. This facilitates in minimizing the chances of escalating and infecting everyone in the workspace.
This is a plan to try and minimize losses during the pandemic and getting recovery in a short period of time after the pandemic.
The pandemic has shown us the importance of being futuristic and proactive for the Business Continuity Plan and which is indeed an utmost requirement during the pandemic.