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5 Keys to business
continuity planning
and business
emergency
preparedness

Author: Amy Lind

As the COVID-19 pandemic made abundantly clear, business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness are essential to help companies navigate periods of uncertainty. When the pandemic began, many organizations pivoted to remote work, but not all of them were able to make the adjustment with the speed or agility they would have liked.

Now that businesses have completed their initial transitions to the new world of work, they must build resilience for the future, which means business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness can no longer be ignored or put on the back burner.

Business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness can help organizations define the steps that are needed to address employees’ well-being and maintain uninterrupted service to customers should another crisis arise. Here are five key ways to help your organization become resilient in the face of uncertainty.

1. Prepare to support remote work going forward

Many employees will continue working from home after the pandemic ends. Accordingly, business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness should support the requirements of a remote workforce over the long term.

To accomplish this goal, you need to confirm not only that you have the right network infrastructure in place but that you can quickly scale it up when needed. As many businesses learned during the pandemic, an increase in remote work may result in a spike in network traffic, straining overall network resources. Rather than having to address this challenge during a crisis, business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness help to ensure you plan for your capacity requirements in advance.

Preparations could involve upgrading network capabilities and enabling wireless connectivity with commercial-grade network connections. You may also want to consider providing employees with mobile devices and hotspots for remote connectivity, so they have multiple options for staying connected and productive while working remotely.

2. Help your remote workforce stay engaged

Your employees are used to working remotely by now. Even so, they may be experiencing subtle challenges that make it hard to work well from home. While many employees appreciate the flexibility that working from home makes possible, an isolated working environment can negatively affect employee collaboration and well-being.

Business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness should also take into account the supervision of a remote workforce. Part of effectively managing remote employees involves making sure your employees feel both valued and connected to the team through regular check-ins and intentional conversations about their professional goals. Remote workers sometimes have trouble logging off when their home doubles as their office, so look for signs of burnout, as well.

To support optimal employee collaboration, make sure your remote collaboration platform includes the right software and tools to truly enable a work-from-anywhere environment. All of your employees should have access to the same collaboration tools and resources, regardless of where they work. If your organization is new to collaboration software, consider offering training sessions to all of your employees, including new hires.

3. Prioritize continuity of service

Your workforce may be vital to your community as well as your business during a crisis. For example, your employees may support local government agencies, care for sick patients, protect the community or maintain utilities. When doing your business continuity planning,  take a moment to identify these vital individuals and work with management to outfit them with the right tools, so they can be as productive as possible when the next emergency occurs.

By engaging leadership and critical staff in your business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness, you can help to ensure continuity of service in the event of a crisis. You should also partner with individuals in key roles to discuss risks, understand how best to manage them and decide in advance how you will keep the operation functioning. As COVID-19 demonstrated, relying on access to specific physical locations and resources can be a liability, so consider how you might access remote or virtual support.

4. Use communications tools to stay connected with customers

Connecting with customers is always a top priority, and technology can be an important part of business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness. Unified communications can help you connect customers to the right person, so calls don’t go unanswered. Video calls can give your customers confidence that they can connect with you directly, and video calls are particularly effective when a personal touch is needed or a complex subject is being discussed.

Unified communication solutions allow you to set up call routing priorities and forwarding so calls always go to the right employee on duty. They also let your remote workforce answer these calls from their home offices, just as they would in traditional offices. Just let your customers know you are available and tell them the best way to contact you. That way, they can still reach you no matter what happens.

5. Secure your network and your critical data

If you intend to support a remote workforce over the long term, your business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness need to account for the security of your data and network. To do that, you need to have the right tools. An experienced partner can help you assess whether you have adequate security parameters in place to protect your organization. For example, they can help you create a work-from-home security policy and a disaster recovery plan. They can also help you establish secure cloud storage for your most critical data. This way, you can balance the benefits of remote work with the security your business requires.

Businesses must learn from the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Business continuity planning and business preparedness can help organizations build a resilient business—one that supports a fully engaged remote workforce and consistently delivers a winning customer experience—no matter what the future holds.

Need assistance with business continuity planning and business emergency preparedness? Discover how Verizon networking solutions can help you build a resilient business and prepare for what’s next.

Amy Lind is Product Marketing Manager for Verizon.