Ensuring that teams transitioning to remote working are aligned and understand their responsibilities is even more critical given that ad hoc day to day communication may appear more difficult, particularly in the context of a crisis and a business that may be in survival mode. You should review your emergency protocols and ensure that they address different types of emergency situation.
Fire procedures – These need to be displayed in prominent positions around the workplace and include details of designated Fire Marshals for areas of your premises, emergency escape routes and other procedural details. Fire procedures need to be practiced to ensure that they remain effective.
Bomb scare procedures – Procedures need to detail a process for assessing the risks to staff within the workplace. They should detail advice on telephone warnings (allowing the caller to deliver the full message, keeping them on the phone, taking note of distinguishing characteristics, informing colleagues discreetly), and on what to do on receipt of a suspicious package, and evacuation procedures.
Infectious disease procedures – These need to make it clear that government advice will be taken with regard to factors like infection control and isolation periods, and that the company may decide to take steps such as staggering start and finish times, cancelling non-essential travel or training sessions, increasing working from home and minimizing face to face contact between employees.
What a Business Continuity Management Plan needs to contain
A successful Business Continuity Management Plan (BCMP) outlines how a company plans to continue business in a variety of circumstances. They are a structured approach that aims to ensure continuity is maintained with minimal damage to the business if key assets are lost. While each different company will have its own bespoke requirements, you should ensure that your BCMP contains at least:
- An introduction – Outlining the aims and objectives of the plan, and how long full implementation should take to ensure minimal loss of service or impact.
- Roles and responsibilities – Contact details of staff who are responsible for developing, operating and testing, and activating and escalating the plan, and the process for invoking the plan.
- BCMP team – Key staff who will be mobilized to invoke the plans – their allotted tasks, a location to coordinate business activities from, and the location and contents of an emergency kit to ensure a minimum level of business activities can continue.
- Other contacts – Other key individuals who have an impact on the plan’s effectiveness – suppliers, emergency services etc.
- Risk register – A register of tasks categorized by impact level on the company’s continuity of business as well as on the safety, health and welfare of its staff.
- Action plans – A recovery plan to ensure that critical business activities detailed in the risk register can be resumed following a serious incident; a phased return to operations outlining what functions should be up and running within a certain timeframe.
- Equipment and resources – What equipment is required either to work from home or an alternative location, and how soon it should be made available, including number of workstations, any hardware and access to software applications.
- Testing – A plan for testing all elements of the BCMP, breaking down each element and ensuring each element can be mobilized.