How to Implement a Business Continuity Plan During

COVID-19 Shut Down 
If you are a small business who is troubled by the impact COVID-19 will have on your business, you are not alone.  It is imperative for business owners and CEOs to be strategic to keep their leaders and employees engaged during uncertain times and disruptions caused by COVID-19.   
To relieve stress and organize your team, implement a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).  As you look for ways to maintain operations, a business continuity and recovery plan will address temporary disruptions to your regular operation and look at practical considerations relevant to your business. 
To help relieve some stress and anxiety, rally your leadership team to put in place a BCP. Here are some considerations to review for your business continuity plan:  
Itemize critical physical assets needed due to an emergency. 
Approval and execution authority 
Data backup and recovery 
Create contact information for key personnel, including IT, HR, payroll, and accounting 
Identify mission-critical systems (IT, Telephone and information systems) 
Create remote access to servers and data to access HRIS (employee data), payroll, telephone, and billing systems. 
Contact IT to provide equipment and setup remote access. 
Review company HR policies that apply to telework employees: 
Duration of teleworking period 
Hours of operation 
Pay dates and holiday leave 
Allowance to cover office-related costs (e.g., electricity and rent) 
If applicable, reimbursement for homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for added coverage 
Use of company property and security of company data 
Procedures for accruing and scheduling vacation or paid time off 
Social media 
Data protection 
Employee Code of Conduct 
Dress code when meeting with customers or partners. 
Meet with the leadership team to identify employee performance and engagement needs. 
Identify all mission-critical systems to maintain communication and operations. 
Assess financial and operational capabilities – banking, accounting, finance, IT support, vendors, and operational systems and access. 
Establish communications channels between employees, customers, vendors, subcontractors, and all key personnel. For updates, set up a centralized web-page. 
Update and verify the contact information and physical location of employees. 
Develop a communication plan for customers and debtors, and provide alternate contact information during the shutdown   
Contact bank to review their policy for prompt access to funds to remit payroll, customer transactions, and accounts payable.  
Contact your insurance agent to review the key man insurance policy.  
Review key agreements such as service level agreements, supplier agreements, and partnership agreements.  Communicate your BCP to maintain relationships. 
How Can a Continuity Plan Help Small Business Owners? 
Your company does not have to be an IBM, Starbucks, or the Department of Defense to ensure you have a plan to preserve your business during unexpected disruptions or closures caused by COVID-19. As with large companies or agencies, a continuity plan allows you to maintain an operation that serves your customers, maintain revenue, and minimize loss. In essence, small business owners would benefit the same. 

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