Operational Resilience – some practical pandemic planning thoughts

A quick look at today’s news underscores the importance of operational resilience to any business in terms of keeping colleagues, clients and thus revenue in good working order.

At this time, it looks like we should be bracing for a significant outbreak of the coronavirus. At quarter (and financial year) end, the amount of potential downtime this could cause an organisation would have a serious impact on revenue flows and client service. And the duration of any impact will be compounded by public transport disruption, closures of schools and nurseries, and caring for family members.

Here are some of the practical implications of pandemic planning that r10 is considering:

1. Operations

Sick colleagues mean fewer people available to service clients and process work. Are your staff sufficiently cross-trained to support each other? Do your internal systems access restrictions and compliance rules prohibit flex across teams? With contractual deadlines or court dates to comply with, can your business respond rapidly and easily prioritise the most important work? Looking at what has happened in other parts of the world, it’s possible specific geographies or cities are shut down, so can you transfer work across locations to keep your operational wheels turning? Your clients and market colleagues may also be affected – this could reduce your incoming work volumes, but it will also reduce throughput and increase turnaround times.

2. Technology

Of course, healthy colleagues should be able to work remotely, but that relies on optimising remote working tools. If you are not already entirely electronic, do you have work rounds to enable document scanning and email trading? ‘Back office’ support staff often don’t have work mobiles or laptops, and your business systems and filing processes may not cope with remote access. GDPR still applies and sharing client and colleague data to facilitate remote working doesn’t mean all bets are off.

3. People

Even if you’ve got all the IT and well-communicated processes in place, your colleagues and clients are likely to be feeling stressed. They may be recovering themselves, be caring for children, partners or relatives or just worried about family and friends. They may feel isolated and they’ll probably also be working their socks off covering for other colleagues so do remember to keep in touch and say thank you.

This could all make for bleak reading, but much can be mitigated by good contingency planning upfront. If your pandemic continuity plan is not yet finalised, r10 can support your organisation to plan ahead by contacting info@r10.global.


Author: Helen Dines