must have crisis plans in place to ensure business continuity as the
coronavirus epidemic could potentially “last for months”
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the UK, the government is implementing contingency efforts to contain the virus and keep the number of cases from spiralling out of control. Now, businesses across the UK are restructuring their business plans to keep in line with health and safety precautions of their staff. However, it is vital businesses find new ways cope with the crisis as the coronavirus epidemic could potentially last for “months” and affect businesses operations in the long-term, Chief Executive of the UK’s leading management consulting firms Management Consultancies Association, Tamzen Isacsson, said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus in the UK has now peaked at 51, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced today. Britain is currently in the containment phase, but Mr Hancock added: “If number of global cases continues to rise, especially in Europe, the scientific advice is that we may not be able to contain the virus indefinitely”.
With a drastic rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, it is essential businesses assess their crisis plans and ensure business continuity in the event of a nationwide outbreak.
“Businesses need to assess their crisis and business continuity plans and review any international travel and relocation, supply chain impacts, upcoming events and working from home policies,” Mr Isacsson said. “A lot of practical advice for firms is available on government and member websites and companies already experiencing a significant impact on their operations are using the extra capacity, technical knowledge and skills of specialist consultancies to ensure they have up-to-date robust business continuity plans.”
It is important workers are provided with the necessary tools and policies to be able to work remotely and stay connected. Companies must also keep in mind that the epidemic could potentially last much longer than expected, so it is detrimental business have structural plans in place to ensure smooth operations in the future.
“Remote working for some employees in many countries is now a necessity and it is important firms assess their IT infrastructure and networks to ensure they have the right technologies and policies in place to support their workforce to stay connected remotely,” Mr Isacsson added. “Businesses need to bear in mind that this epidemic could potentially last for months so consideration needs to be given as to how long businesses can cope with long term changes. Many businesses are already seeing a fall in sales and footfall, with industries such as tourism, hospitality, retail and transportation affected and firms are assessing the longer-term financial cost implications and must be prepared to speak to their lenders if they are already impacted.”
Businesses should review their travel guidelines and whether relocating staff can have potential impacts on tax and immigration rules. Companies should also assess their supply chain and find out if coronavirus can adversely affect their stock, and in any circumstances, if another supplier can be sourced when stocks fall at a rapid rate. If events need to be cancelled, businesses should check whether this can be covered by company insurance. It is important businesses communicate with their employees and have effective procedures and policies in place for remote working if needed. First aid plans and HR policies should also be reviewed. Companies should also keep in mind the impacts on sales and if they are seeing a reduction in profits, speak to lenders who can help during this detrimental period.