Were You Prepared for COVID-19? Business Continuity Tips for Facing Crises

The coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the globe this year has undoubtedly affected everyone in the country (and the world) in some way. Schools have made the switch to e-Learning, people are working remotely, and the unemployment rate is staggeringly high.

Perhaps those hit hardest by the impact of COVID-19, though, are small businesses throughout the country. According to a poll conducted by MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 46% of small businesses believe it will take anywhere from six months to a year for things to return to normal once the threat of this pandemic has passed, if it’s possible at all. Some businesses will be forced to shut their doors for good.

Was your business prepared for the impact of COVID-19?

Unfortunately, many were not. But there are things you can do to both keep your business afloat now and prepare yourself for the future. Keep these continuity tips in mind and put them into practice now so you’ll be ready to emerge more productive and prepared when your business reopens.

Reevaluate Your Processes and Automation

Now is the perfect time to reevaluate the processes you had in place before the pandemic hit. When things are going well, it’s easy to ignore your business’s continuity plan, so in times of crisis, it’s important to put your focus on how things run. Your continuity plan should include everything from disaster recovery strategies to the role of each department in daily processes. 

One area of focus should be remote work capabilities. The idea of remote work was becoming increasingly popular even before COVID-19, but now it has now become a necessity for many businesses in order to keep operations functioning.

Moving forward, you might want to consider offering remote work options for your employees. When you have the technologies in place to allow employees to work from anywhere, this will not only help prepare you in the event of future disasters or disruptions, but this can also become a perk for employees. One Zapier survey found that 26% of “knowledge workers” (those working mainly from computers) quit jobs because they didn’t offer remote work options.

That doesn’t mean that physical office spaces will, or should, disappear. But as you reevaluate long-standing processes and traditions when it comes to where and how you work, ask why: Why is this process in place? Is it necessary? Is there a reason why we do things this way? And is there a different solution that is easier, more profitable, or better for the well-being of employees?

Technology is changing and advancing at a rapid pace, introducing the ability to allow for remote work and other methods of automation. Don’t be afraid to adopt new processes and jump on the digital “trends” that can take your business to the next level.

Use VPNs and Cloud Solutions

Whether you’re allowing for more remote work or not, you should still make digital security a top priority for your business as you move forward. Cloud solutions are a great way to not only allow your employees to work from anywhere, but to allow for instant collaboration, provide backups for the event of disasters, and provide your data with high security. VPNs are also another option for keeping data secure while employees are physically separated.

When you upgrade your continuity plan, all of these factors—security, ease of use, and backup recovery—should be considered.

Get the Assistance of a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

There’s no rule that says you have to run your business on your own, especially if you’re trying to get back on track after a disaster. Working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help in a variety of ways. 

First, a professional MSP can help you to implement new technology strategies that you may not have the ability to do on your own. Technology that makes operations more efficient can be crucial for productivity, both during times of disaster and times of growth. An MSP can also help protect you from potential IT disruptions that could occur in the future, preventing data loss, and implement scalable technology that will support your business as it grows.

An MSP can also evaluate your current business structure and strategy and offer invaluable advice on what your system needs right now. So even if you’re unsure of what weaknesses or inefficiencies might exist, an expert pair of outside eyes can help you see what your business needs.

No matter what your business has been faced with, now is the perfect time to look forward. Take the initiative to create a business continuity plan for when you reopen and to help you achieve your long-term business goals.

Chris Turn