Risk and resilience: Seven ways to prepare your business for a coronavirus second wave

As many countries begin to emerge from the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to plan and prepare your business for a possible coronavirus second wave.

It is vital to act now to create greater resilience and safeguard your business to achieve long-term survival. This means learning from your response to coronavirus, evaluating the new normal and its risk landscape, and ensuring that your crisis plans meet the current threat level.

How to make your business more resilient against another potential lockdown

  • Review lessons learned

Ensure that you have heeded any lessons learned from the first lockdown period. Consider what went well and what did not. Next, ensure that you have a plan in place to make sure you can continue facilitating the successes and address the failings.

  • Review your risk profile and controls

Make sure that these have been updated for the way in which the virus has affected your business and its activities. This should cover aspects such as customers, suppliers, operations, and staffing. This risk profile needs to be kept under regular review by your leadership team, potentially even daily.

  • Maintain vigilance

Remember that other ‘risks and issues will continue alongside the threat posed by a second wave. These issues include those from a ‘business as usual’ perspective such as technology and data security, compliance matters and the more extraordinary problems such as government policy changes and regulation changes. If these other items are not kept in check and properly managed, company resilience will be further weakened.

How to ensure that your organisation not only survives but thrives in the wake of coronavirus

Survival has much to do with resilience. Additional considerations to build into your company response plans include:

  • Make it clear through effective stakeholder communications that the business objectives remain the same. During the peak of the pandemic, many reasons for businesses doing something or not doing something revolved around the response to the virus. We now know that we can operate within it. It is no longer a viable reason to simply stop.

  • Maintain good governance by making sure the company leadership and board room are still effective, and that the elements of direction and control are still being fulfilled. This might include setting a strategy as to the effectiveness of the internal control environment.

  • You must listen to your stakeholders and what they are telling you. Whether they are your clients, suppliers, staff or the public, these groups will provide information that needs to be distilled and acted on as soon as possible.

  • Analyse what new things are emerging in your sector - what are your competitors doing or experiencing and what can you learn from them?

  • Stay abreast of specialist advice, particularly from the Government or their professional advisers.

Seven do’s and don’ts for second lockdown scenario planning

    DO reforecast to identify specific financial resilience and sustainability challenges.

    DO take steps to reshape the business as required, recognising that the way in which business will be done in the future will be different to today.

    DO communicate with key clients and suppliers, and work more collaboratively to get through the lockdown, recognising that in some cases things do not always go as planned.

    DO create a sense that we are all in this together, emphasising that preparation will ease the situation for everyone involved.

    DON’T just fall back into doing things in the same way as before - embracing the new normal is crucial to success.

    DON’T avoid using coronavirus as an opportunity to rethink how to make your business more efficient, effective, economic. Grasp the nettle and make the change – it may create pain in the short term but will be best for the longer term.

   

DON’T ignore feedback and advice, no matter how negative it might seem. By carrying on and burying your head in the sand, the problems that are occurring will simply continue to occur.

Take action

Managing risk involves a lot of learning from our experiences, and those of others. As business leaders we have learnt a lot from the impact of coronavirus about ourselves, our business, our staff and our stakeholders. Use that learning – and the above do’s and don’ts - to ensure as that, as far as possible, you can see out a possible second wave of coronavirus. 

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