Business Continuity Plans ~Being Prepared for the New Normal

– – 5/18/2020
– – by Heather McCloskey, heather@mccloskeypartners.com

2020. January seems like a decade ago. There was a tight job market, it was getting hard to find talent that you weren’t luring away. The economy was expanding. Social Media was Tick Tok routines. The stock market was up, the winter was warm and mild… it was looking like it was going to be a great year.

Just 8 weeks ago we were forced to deal with what we are referring to as the monster… the C’Word (COVID.)

With its emergence, it seems like everything we knew about managing our personal lives let alone our company and employees, changed overnight.

Initially, we were forced to cope with employees affected by school closings and then we had to manage “shelter-in-place.”

We learned a new term, called… Social Distancing. And said good-bye to standard behaviors like handshakes.

Together we have navigated through our businesses being on the “essential” and “non-essential” lists and learned more about the CARES Act then I am pretty sure we really hoped to.

A common sentiment when I talk to business owners, regardless of the industry / size/ location, is that we are all in this together and not one of us had any idea how to navigate the challenges that the “C” Word introduced and forced us to deal with.

We were inundated with email updates from every person in our contacts. However, information was often conflicting and confusing.

There was never a handbook for this. As soon as you brainstormed on a white board some band aides to get some control, the rules changed again… and then again… and again.

How do you prepare for complete and daily utter uncertainty?

I know for me, I remained in a state of vigilance. On a daily basis trying to ensure that anything that changed overnight was reviewed and understood before 8:00AM, at which point employees got word and started firing off emails about new rules and what the changes meant for them.

Professional attire on the top and Yoga pants and jogging shorts on the bottom have become the new power attire during Zoom meetings.

Here we are today, wait, what day is it anyway?

All kidding aside, there is one thing we know for sure and that is that there is nothing sure about
tomorrow.

We are recommending that Companies plan now for the future of their tomorrow.

Take the time as a leadership team to schedule your Zoom Video Conference and plan, and then plan and plan some more. When we were initially forced to deal with the C’Word we were forced to react in crisis mode.

We are recommending that Companies plan now and get ahead of the next C’Word crisis and be proactive, as much as they can.

Today, as we are rebuilding and preparing for the “New Normal” of our businesses, we have a few choices; we can give in to the uncertainty that this C’Word brings and follow a strategy of… Hope for the Best.

Or

We can take this opportunity to find a small sliver of a silver lining… and make changes to our business that are on our terms.

Maybe allowing some changes is a good thing. Changes such as: work from home arrangements to continue, not requiring everyone to return to the office at the same time, implement staggered shifts (expand the work-day), expanding the work-week to 6 or 7 days versus the standard 5 day work-week with flexible scheduling, permit staff to work a mix of at office / at home; change hourly staff schedules to 4 -10 hour days so that staff are not working in the office all at the same time.

Oh, and its time to consider changing your mindset… that only employees that are physically in the office are successful. Guess what, some employees are more successful when they stay in their Jammies and log on and get work done from their kitchen counter. Be open minded for your New Normal and look for quantifiable employee production results… versus making decisions just because of the way it used to be.

Your employees got a taste of a new quality of life, not waking up so early… not getting all dressed up,  not commuting in 20 to 45 minutes of traffic each way, not paying for gas and tolls, not having to make small talk they didn’t enjoy but knew they had to, not having to sit in a meeting to discuss a meeting to schedule the meeting about the meeting. Maybe your workplace adapts to this, in a way that Employee Engagement and morale is HIGHER while work output is also ELEVATED? Maybe this is the silver lining?

Our team is here for you, as we always have been to help you navigate thru this unexpected time. The below Checklist includes recommendations for you to consider as you start preparing / thinking and creating your Businesses Continuity Plan for your New Normal.

Have a suggestion that is not on this list? Send it to our way at Heather@McCloskeyPartners.com and we will post it in our HR Column.

The McCloskey Partners, LLC Business Continuity Checklist

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST PDF