05/01/2009

10 basic things to do for business continuity in this Flu crisis

1. make complete adresses lists so you can always contact everybody if necessary and make those list ready for redistribution if your workers have to stay at home so they can stay in contact with each other

2. make sure that all information about essential processes and procedures or cases is written and on a server that is available from outside if necessary and is known to several people (the 4 eyes theory)

3. make sure that you have put together a committee if you are a bigger enterprise or administration that can be organised instantly if necessary. You will need management, security, IT, health, trade unions and some representatives from essential services to be part of that committee.

4. think already about what you should do with people that become sick (send them  home) or are sick (stay home for x) or live in areas that are infected or have family members that are infected or sick. Think also also about what to do with public spaces in your buildings and think when you will decide to close them and how to protect your workers from them and from each other. etc....

5. Make sure that you have a secure VPN solution and who has still no internet at home or mobile from the firm and under which condition you will give them anyway. You have to take into account that when the virus comes closer to Belgium the number of demands for mobiles and internet connections will increase rapidly as firms and administration will close doors as the situation worsens. It is better to have the infrastructure ready (give your essential personnel a mobile and an internet connection) and increase the amount the firm will cover as the number of days they have to stay at home will increase.

Do not wait too long for setting in place your internal VPN solution (which fileservers with which protection and authentification) and your external VPN solution (take something you can build upon later as an enterprise or administration). There are also some free solutions.

6. Make specific procedures with your important personnel and the firms that have to work with you in one way or another.

7. Have enough protective masks, cleaning material and other stuff like that in stock so you eventually can continue to function (even if everything has to be cleaned completely everytime it is used)

8 have a communication policy to your personnel and for your external contacts and clients

9 be sure that the necessary administrative acts have been signed so other people can take the necessary legal decisions if the normal decision-maker has fallen ill or in the worst case has died

10 run through this in a test if you find the time, the best thing is to take 10% of your personnel ad random virtually out of which half could work from home and the other half are too sick or in hospital. Can they be replaced, do they have access to the internal network, can they be contacted, do the people who are in the office or in the enterprise know everything that they should to continue working even if they can't contact their co-workers because they are in hospital. You will see that through such an exercise you will find enough mistakes that you wouldn't like to make while you are facing the real thing.

Knowing now how few planning there is effectively is (although the propaganda on tv tries to tells us otherwise) I really hope this virus will pass us by now and in the near future. I would say come back in a few years when they have really be prepared for this. You can say that we are prepared for a virus for animals with limited cross-over to humans and that we know how to handle problems in the food chain but from the outside it doesn't look as if we are prepared to handle a Mexico city like virus problem.

 

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