Disaster risk management refers to the plans put in place to prevent or reduce disruption and loss brought about by extenuating and sudden circumstances.
These tend to encompass external catastrophes like pandemics, terrorist activity, strike action or natural disasters, however it’s important to note that business disruptions can also be brought about by internal issues such as redundancies, acquisitions and financial troubles.
So, when the world is seemingly shutting down around you, how do you keep your calm and become adaptable, in order to maintain your business operations and just keep going through it all?
Whilst there are many reasons why normal business can be interrupted, at present, the world’s economy is under the pressure cooker of the Coronavirus outbreak, particularly since the WHO recently declared it to be an official ‘pandemic’.
World leaders from China, Italy, Hungary, Ireland, the States and more have taken decisive action as a result by implementing major travel bans, restaurant/school/office closures and other significant restrictive activity. And with news breaking every day on this topic, there is likely much more action like this to come for other areas, as COVID-19 spreads.
Governments across the world are warning of the dangers of cross-contamination, as the virus can be passed on easily through human contact and communal touch points. As a result, mass gatherings and community activities are being reduced, and naturally this change in behaviour extends to the common workplace.
With such a high risk of the virus spreading, employees across the globe are being urged to change their working dynamics and switch to a remote working arrangement. This is not an option, of course, for every profession and every sector, but wherever possible working from home is becoming the new norm.
Remote working has always offered a wealth of benefits for employees and employers and works fantastically well for certain business. For start-ups and small businesses, for example, there’s an opportunity for independent creative freedom and a healthier work-life balance, as well as lower running costs and increased flexibility.
But for a business not previously geared up in this way, and managing a large staff force that’s setup in a more traditional office environment only, how do they make that switch at all?
Prepped and Ready
It’s about flexibility and planning. Sure, no-one could ever have predicted the scale and severity of the current coronavirus situation, much like other disasters in history such as 9/11 or the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami - but a business that has considered contingency plans at all will be better equipped in events like this.
Having a well thought out strategy to manage any element of risk within your business operations is paramount. Assigning a team or preparing *plans* for all eventualities ensures that when things dramatically change, you remain ahead of the game.
In the current crisis, we’ve already witnessed businesses that don’t have the resources and structures to allow their employees to work from home, facing immense difficulties and struggling to keep the momentum of productivity at a steady rate.
A decisive risk management strategy protects businesses and employees from extenuating circumstances, and keeps things going against the odds. In times of such uncertainty and unpredictability, wouldn’t you rather be ahead of the game?