Business as Unusual – Planning For The Unexpected

This is a photo of our fire escape at circus. It is enormous. 

Our fire escape – which has enough square footage to put small apartments to shame – was mandated by the town’s building code. It is a monument to the health, safety and well-being of the 20 or so employees that come to work here each day. 

Initially, we were dismayed by its enormity. We thought it was an eyesore. But we were wrong.

The gigantic fire escape is part of a plan

As business owners, leaders and managers, we’re familiar with planning. We are constantly planning our business growth, our marketing strategy, our organizational structure, our next big idea. We plan for down-sizing, right-sizing, new market penetration and current customer engagement. We build on great ideas, innovation and failures. We are planning pros.

We build on great ideas, innovation, and failures. We are planning pros.

At circus, we’ve run fire drills, mapping our paths to safety through the building and down the gigantic fire escape. We understand that fires are (hopefully) not planned, and that we need to be prepared in case one unexpectedly occurs.

But how do you have a plan for the unexpected? Like a pandemic

Today, in our new and pandemic virus reality, planning for business continuation in the face of the unexpected, is a glaring issue. How is your business planning to help mitigate the spread of Coronavirus while ensuring seamless business service and operation?

Beyond “tricking out” the office with sanitizing safety measures, we also know that our business can continue to operate viably and seamlessly if everyone had to stay at home.  Like our fire drills, we know this because we have a plan and we’ve practiced working remotely so that we understand the issues, challenges and complications that can arise and how to manage them.

Jump start your plan

Here’s what we considered when developing our plan.  

Working remotely

  • Can some or all of our business operations be managed remotely?
  • If not, is there a way to limit contact for those who must come into the building?
  • Does everyone have access to hardware and software that will allow them to work remotely?
  • Does everyone know how to use their remote working tools?  Who will be the contact person for those who have technical difficulties?
  • What are our guidelines and expectations for remote work?  Who are our designated check-in managers and how/when should remote workers check in?

Information Management

  • What is our formal announcement for clients, suppliers and partners so they know how to contact us and that our offices are closed? How will this announcement be disseminated? 
  • How will we communicate the need for remote work to our internal teams and what is the timing for remote work notice? 

Business Not As Usual 

  • Do we need to change any of our business goals/objectives/expectations based on remote work versus in-the-office work such as delivery timelines for work in order to manage client expectations?
  • And ultimately, how will this affect our bottom line and what can we do to mitigate the negative impact to our people, our vendors, and our customers.

Blog Update –  Our plan just got put into action.  They’ve closed the schools and many businesses this afternoon.  If you need me, I’ll be working from home.