We are all dealing with this pandemic and working to meet the needs of our employees, clients, and stakeholders. Many of you are working from home already. We are thankful to have our ISO 22301 business continuity management system to help guide us as we continue to operate and serve our clients. We wanted to share the parts of our planning that are most helpful to us now in these unprecedented times and provide an outlet for discussion. Over the next few weeks we will post about topics that may be on the top of your mind. Please share your thoughts, experiences, and resources in the comments section below this post. What you are doing may help a colleague and your experience may shape someone else’s response. Let’s work through this together.
At the forefront of maintaining business through this pandemic is Essential Functions. What are the essential functions your organization needs to do right now to maintain operations? You may be operating with reduced staff or have employees working from home. You likely can’t do everything you used to do. What are the functions you want people to focus on? Think of it like this, do you need to tell your body to breathe? No, our bodies are programmed to prioritize its most essential functions, and will fight to breathe over everything else. But our businesses are not built that way.
FEA identified our essential functions and recovery time objectives (how quickly we want those functions back up and running) during our certification through a process called business impact analysis. This prioritized list of functions includes equipment, infrastructure, technology, and people needed for those functions – the essential functions FEA needs to breathe. Prioritization allows FEA to focus on those functions that are most critical during this pandemic. If you have not already gone through this process yet, it’s not too late. Take a moment now and think through what is most essential for each department in order for your organization to survive this event. Identify three functions for each department to focus on and evaluate if those departments are currently able to perform those functions and what resources they need. This simple measure can help your organization to keep operating and not waste time on functions that are not crucial to business operations.
- Do you find yourself or your team struggling to do it “all” under reduced staff or productivity?
- Have you discovered that a task you never spent much time thinking about during “routine operations” is in fact an essential function of your business that must be sustained regardless of where, when or how you are working?
- How will you capture that lesson learned when you return to normal business practices?
Next up, what are the essential resources we need to keep our business running? Should we re-think our old school definitions of “essential” employees who must report to a building?