Over the summer months, swine ’flu (H1N1 ’flu virus) stopped generating regular front-page headlines and the number of reported new cases decreased. However, as winter approaches, the number of new cases is now increasing. In the UK, the Department of Health and the NHS continue to prepare for the worst, although it is impossible to forecast accurately what will happen.
This uncertainty is not unique to swine ’flu. Threats to our ability to do business rarely manifest themselves quite as expected; worse, some events occur that were never predicted at all. As instability and uncertainty are only expected to increase, organisations cannot plan for ‘everything’. Instead, making resilience a core driver in your business strategy and operations enables you to better respond to, manage and emerge from disruptive or unexpected events in the future.
The good news is that there are some key activities that can be undertaken now, that will help you to both manage the short-term threat from swine ’flu, and, importantly, pave the way for longer-term business resilience.
Five key steps to addressing emerging threats
Identify key operational staff (not just the leadership team) and implement procedures that will ensure the cross-transfer of skills so critical infrastructure and services can be maintained
Review working practices in order to identify the critical business processes that must be maintained, and if/how these can be performed remotely
Support the option of key staff temporarily operating from home (assuming remote working is technically feasible and there exists the capability to cope with widespread use; if not, start to investigate this)
Agree with customers that reduced service levels may occur; if you are open about this earlier on then you are less likely to suffer long-term loss of business
Identify, agree and enforce a strategy and processes with key suppliers and partners so they (and their own value chain) can continue to support your business.
To find out more about assessing and creating resilience in your business, please contact us now.