Click here for Free business continuity plan template.

According to a recent study, 27.2% of companies do not have a business continuity plan and another quarter are just developing them for the first time in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Business continuity planning is the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. These threats can be wide-ranging, some big, some small, but all can have a detrimental, and sometimes catastrophic, impact.

Many things can be predicted in advance, such as a stock market crash, cyber-crime, political changes or climate change.

The Coronavirus, however, is something which was almost impossible to predict. In the past we have had SARs, Swine Flu and H1N1, but nothing on the scale of current pandemic. We are certainly in unchartered waters.

As we speak, many sporting fixtures and other large gatherings have been cancelled; travel to countries like Italy and Spain has been stopped; schools are closing, people showing symptoms of the virus have been told to self-isolate and many businesses are encouraging their staff to work from home.

These all have implications but can be addressed via a business continuity plan. First, the organisation should ensure that a nominated person is responsible for keeping abreast of developments from the World Health Organization, the UK Government and the NHS.

To help co-ordinate the organisation’s response to developments, regular meetings and briefings should be had with key members of staff. This might be the responsibility of the person currently designated to manage any disaster response or preparedness planning.

It is likely that a number of areas of the business will need to stay abreast of developments, so make sure the contingency planning team includes all relevant departments, e.g. HR, procurement and facilities management.

As the figures reveal, many businesses especially SME’s, will not have plans or regular meetings in place in place due to not having the in-house expertise/resources.

Eton Environmental Group has therefore produced a free business continuity plan template which will hopefully prove useful as COVID-19 continues to evolve and hopefully it will enable you to mitigate against potentially negative impact on your own businesses.