Publised On: Aug 22, 2020
Year 2020 has carved itself in the history as one of the most peaceful still a deadly one. This year brought the peaceful disaster that our generation will not be able to forget that easily.
Hardly anything similar has happened in the recent history that has had an impact on the life of each individual in the civilised world.
While there are many lessons to be learnt from Covid-19 pandemic, the most important one for businesses is about business continuity. Even the most prepared of businesses had no idea of the scale of disruption they would have to face due to current pandemic. The concepts of cold or warm site did not help as covid-19 did not leave any country or city/ town alone.
Organisations that had least impact were those who were already practicing remote working (aka working from home - WFH). Though there were still issues faced by such organisations, but the impact was minor or at least not as disruptive as it was for those who was had no preparation for remote working.
Working from home was 180 degrees change for majority of employee base around the globe. Remember that even best managed changes don’t happen overnight, it takes months if not years, to prepare, implement and practice before a successful outcome is achieved. Irony of the pandemic doubled when there was no time to prepare for the change but to practice it the next morning.
While employees working in desk based roles could still try to keep their jobs secure by accepting to work from home, there was a major crisis for all those who could not simply pack their laptops and start attending conference calls from their living rooms next morning. From retail outlets to manufacturing units, all faced the same dilemma and some (retail) had to close their doors for good 3 months before they could even think of opening up again. Even a week is enough to force a retail business shut permanently, three months in a row were more than enough to make the business and their employees suffer even after all the help from governments across the globe.
So what could have been done better or different? Or what can be done better or different to prevent such a catastrophe in the future?
Some important points below:
Industrial units already practicing shifts on their floors would be somewhat prepared already in terms of business continuity, they can reduce their shifts and make their staff work overtime to ensure continuity. Some of the organisations have gone as far as arranging onsite residence for their staff which will ensure minimum business continuity in case if there is another pandemic outbreak.
On the other had retail businesses can setup online selling in parallel to their high-street presence which will ensure business continuity in the disruptive situations. Although in some businesses, this will be difficult but not impossible at all.
World must learn lessons from Covid-19 global outbreak and become more resilient, should there be another pandemic or similar situation in future.