It's not being dramatic to say that COVID-19 has consumed both our personal and professional lives. We've been thrust into a world of disruption without any real sense of how long it will take for things to get back to normal and furthermore, what normal will look like. Even for companies that had their business continuity plans developed, a pandemic like COVID-19 was not something many saw coming let alone prioritised protecting themselves from.
Organisations often think that managing crisis is just a matter of being prepared for the worst. While your preparations may cover known potential disruptions, in unprecedented times, it becomes clear that 'emergent' risks, or risks that are newly developing and therefore not understood, may not be accounted for in your plan. When these ambiguous 'emergent' risks surface, the organisations that can adapt and respond continually are more likely to win.
If recent major events have shown us anything, it is how vulnerable organisations can be without the right planning in place to support their responsiveness, their resilience and the decisions they make during a time of crisis.
Whether it is a natural disaster like the recent bushfires, or the unknown like we face today with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are things businesses can do to ensure they are best positioned to continue operations into the future.
The Australian government recently activated its emergency response plan to the impending coronavirus pandemic. Called the "The COVID-19 plan", it provides a strategy to make sure the country is as prepared as possible should there be a large-scale outbreak. While this plan is designed to protect Australia and its people, organisations should also have plans in place for how to manage their business and employees in the midst of emergencies or crises.
Disasters, like bushfires and pandemics as we've seen most recently, can wreak havoc on people and businesses. There are threats locally and globally we often can’t predict, and when something unexpected happens, it highlights the necessity of planning for the worst-case scenario. This is why it's crucial for businesses to have a disaster recovery plan (DRP).