One of the measures of a well-run business is how well it functions under stress. Businesses can be efficient and thriving on the surface, but without embedded business continuity strategies, even the slightest crisis can turn into a commercial nightmare.
If you want your business to function effectively during times of stress, here are some ways to deal with key business continuity risks.
Manage Large-Scale Staff Illness
Every now and then, all workforces experiences spikes in staff absences. Medical science hasn't advanced far enough to prevent outbreaks of flu, and food poisoning can affect whole departments overnight. That's without even considering the possibility of pandemics.
You need processes in place that can deal with small, medium, and large numbers of absences. Key workers need to know how to act up when needed, and IT systems need to be as resilient as possible. If necessary, organise back-up contractors to fill in at short notice, and budget for the potential costs.
Deal with IT Catastrophe
In the modern world, most companies rely on IT systems to function effectively, and when networks go down, customers suffer. Put a plan in place that safeguards key data and allows vital parts of your firm's IT infrastructure to continue to function if everything else fails.
Power failure can also damage your network, so make sure you have surge protectors installed and always keep a stock of fully-charged mobile phones on hand for employees to use should the phone lines go down. It also helps to have a communications strategy ready to let clients know about any issues so that you can proactively manage their queries.
Protect Your Premises Against Fire and Flood
These two threats are very different but connected by similar solutions. When you design your business premises, avoid fire hazards as much as possible, mark out easy to reach escape routes and secure the premises against intruders out of hours. Talk over your concerns with the local Fire Service as well.
The same goes for flooding. If you are located on a flood plain, try to avoid having vital IT equipment at ground level, fit non-return valves to pipes, have sandbags on hand and use flooring that is less susceptible to flood damage.
Move Personnel and Equipment Efficiently
Relocation may be the most underrated business continuity issue facing British businesses, but it can be a nightmare. Think about house removal. That's stressful enough, but business removal is on another level, requiring the moving staff, documentation and equipment. In some cases, staff need to work in two places at once to keep your business functioning during a complex move, a tricky balancing act.
One way to make to process less risky is to use a professional business removal service, such as FB Logistics. These companies can protect your IT equipment and they can move businesses on a modular basis, so that departments can be up and running in no time at your new site.
When these threats are under control, your business continuity plan should be a lot more watertight. With the right risk management, you can avoid routine dramas escalating into devastating crises.