The reopening of the world’s economies from COVID-19-induced shutdown is happening at different paces. It continues apace in some areas that have contained community spread. In others, the emergence of new hot zones has caused a fresh wave of mandated business closures. Suffice it to say: after months of disruption, businesses are understandably eager to go back to normal as part of the recovery process. The question remains, though, have those businesses prepared themselves to resume operations at pre-crisis levels, especially in a public health environment marked by uncertainty?
Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements is critical to your client’s business. But crisis and business continuity planning – often mandated by law – shouldn’t be a box-ticking exercise. Unfortunately, too many of your clients fall into the trap. What risks do they face treating crisis preparedness as a compliance-first practice?
First things first: regulatory mandates following crises are ubiquitous – that’s been the case far before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. In the U.S., for instance, employers with more than ten workers must have written emergency action plans that specify what workers and others at the workplace should do in the event of an emergency.
The scale of the COVID-19 disruption to what had long been normal working arrangements has been unprecedented. Take remote work: an early April 2020 MIT survey revealed that nearly a third of all workers in the U.S. who had been employed the month before were working from home, up from five percent in 2017.
Early numbers from the COVID-19 response reveal long-simmering challenges in ensuring business continuity for most organizations. In one employer survey, only 37 percent of respondents said that they had the right technology in place for employees to conduct critical business operations from home in the event of an emergency.
We’ve all seen the stories. The rapid spread of the coronavirus has caused demand spikes for personal protective equipment (PPE), with healthcare workers in areas hardest hit by the spread of the virus reporting alarming shortages of PPE like masks, gowns, and shields.
At this point, the majority of people who get COVID-19 only experience mild symptoms. But one in six become seriously ill, according to the World Health Organization. Throughout the entirety of the crisis, those numbers have carried serious implications for the healthcare COVID-19 response, as the resultant severe disease has caused hospitalization, even admission to an intensive care unit for weekslong stints.
With a surge of coronavirus cases around the world, new reports of workplace closures due to fear of exposure are emerging outside of coronavirus-epicenter, China, and outbreak hotspots like Hong Kong, South Korea, and Italy.
For those of us that had forgotten, the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to multiple continents should remind us that the risk of a critical global health incident must be factored into crisis and business continuity planning – and not just for companies with exposed supply chains.
The risk of the novel coronavirus to global supply chains is significant, experts say. And it’s easy to see why. For one, there is no historical precedent for the potential impact of the coronavirus on increasingly complex, global supply chains.
Social impact is an important driver of what we do here at Noggin. Our software platform helped organisations respond to the historic 2019/2020 bushfires. And that was before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which is impacting our customers, as well, especially healthcare agencies at the frontline of the epidemic response.