1. Carry out risk assesment
This involves working out what parts of your business are vulnerable, and the effects on the business of the worst-case scenario. Deciding how likely it is that a particular crisis will occur can help you form a strategy for dealing with it.
2. Devise staff procedures
In the event of an emergency, do staff know the evacuation procedures? Identify employees who have specific responsibilities, and ensure they’ve had appropriate training. Also, create a business continuity team that will manage recovery.
3. Identify what the business needs to function
Which individuals will be needed to keep the business running? What will they need to be able to do their jobs? The plan should focus on protecting these elements.
4. Ensure date is safe
All your firm’s data should always be backed up off-site. You should also have hard copies of the plan itself kept at home and with other key members of staff. The plan must include contact details of employees and customers, as well as any service providers you may need to help you recover.
5. Find alternative premises
Look into forming a reciprocal agreement for sharing offices with another organisation. Otherwise, research companies offering temporary office space at short notice.
6. Communicate the plan to staff
Chris Charman, managing director of Thomas Miller Risk Management, suggests: “Give every employee a card, to fit in their wallets, with instructions of what to do. Often, only senior personnel know the details of the plan and everyone else thinks it’s a management issue, but people need to know what to do if they find the office closed one day. Employees should also know whether they’re required at the temporary site.”
7. Keep customers informed
Reassuring customers and suppliers that the business is still operational may save you losing vital custom. You may also have press interest, so make sure you will be able to let suppliers, staff and customers know exactly what’s going on before the press does. Recognise what is needed to prevent customers losing confidence in your business.
8. Keep the plan up-to-date
Changes in staff, suppliers, customers and premises can all affect the plan, and the chances of your business’ survival. Remember to keep employees informed of all updates.