Workplace disruptions are the story of the day. From the Covid-19 “Coronavirus” to the Nashville tornadoes and recent fires in Australia, there is no shortage of things to fear in the news. When we are focused on daily operations, it is human nature to assume things will be fine and push discussions about business continuity to the back burner. Now is not the time to panic, but it absolutely IS the time to prepare – not only for the headline grabbing disasters, but much more common disruptions such as inclement weather, water main breaks, Internet and power outages. Take this opportunity to plan for business continuity, and it just might save your business one day!
Many concerns about workplace disruption can be addressed by having a remote work plan in place. A remote work plan identifies the key functions of your business that can be performed offsite, and helps you ensure you have the ability to execute that plan. Here are some things you may want to consider:
- PEOPLE FIRST! Your most important and most irreplaceable asset is your people. A computer backup does not help you there – make sure you plan for them first! Picture what happened recently in Nashville. People were scattered overnight, their offices damaged, streets were impassable, and cell phone networks unreliable. If that were to happen to your business, how would your team communicate with each other and with you customers?
- Identify which essential functions of your business can be performed remotely, and the employees that perform those functions.
- Identify which essential functions cannot be performed remotely and determine how those functions will be addressed.
- Is the infrastructure in place to support remote workers? Do you have fully redundant servers, power and connectivity in place, or do you need to move some servers or applications to the cloud to ensure availability?
- Are your applications, servers, phone systems and electronic communications systems setup for secure remote access? Do employees know how to access those resources remotely, and do they have the equipment needed to do so?
- If you have remote access available for your staff, have you confirmed that you have sufficient capacity and licensing for all of your potential remote users to connect?
- Has this remote access been configured and TESTED? Can your employees access key applications and data? Can they answer and transfer phone calls from a cell phone? Can they access email, instant messaging, print and/or scan documents as needed? This is especially important for key employees that do not regularly work remotely; if you configure their home computer for VPN access, and that computer gets replaced, you have a big hole in the plan.
- Have you clearly identified the criteria for implementing the plan, and communicated this to all employees? Often, we find companies with a plan in place become paralyzed and lose valuable time before making the decision to execute, or that the decision is made but there is no agreed upon way to communicate that to the stakeholders.
We are here to help! Creating a remote work plan involves assessing your risks, creating the plan, and identifying gaps. Do not forget the most critical item: ongoing review. If remote access is currently available, is everyone configured? Have they tested recently? Since last updating your plan, have critical business functions, key employees, or core applications changed? We are happy to help you through this entire process.
Rest assured that we have a plan in place for our own business continuity, including a remote work plan, ensuring that we will be available to help you through a workplace disruption affecting your business. Give us a call and let us help you establish business continuity for your team today.