Assuming you live through it, a crisis can teach you lessons to apply to your life in the future. We think most of us agree that a global pandemic meets the criteria for a crisis. We’re establishing some new normal culturally, and changing how we work and live. But what can we learn from the COVID-19 crisis? How can we change and improve how our businesses respond to the next crisis event?
Prepare Now for the Next Event
If your business had a crisis plan or continuity document in place, it is unlikely that there was a section on global pandemics. Crisis planning usually encompasses a tornado or a cybersecurity incident; the threat of a global pandemic is so rare that most organizations were taken by surprise.
Five years ago, Bill Gates warned about a possible pandemic event. It was an interesting and sobering talk, but too few of us paid attention. We’re paying attention now, and businesses should take heed that the next virus could be even worse if that can be imagined. To put this in perspective, Business Insider pointed out a series of viral events, from the 14th-century bubonic plague that wiped out 60% of Europe, to the H1N1 pandemic of the early 20th century that infected 50 million people, or one in three people on the planet. When you look at these viruses listed in succession, it’s easier to imagine that there will be another that could have similar effects as COVID-19, from human illness and death to business and economic disruption.
This latest crisis exposed many business weaknesses that need to be addressed before the next crisis occurs. Companies must think through what we’ve learned and change workflows to stay prepared for the next crisis. For example:
- Travel and the flow of workers. Before COVID-19, many companies relied on business travel for sales and customer support. While cheap air travel is convenient and a business staple, we need to rethink what percentage of these trips can be replaced with virtual conferences. Should your company rethink exhibiting at trade shows as a primary mechanism for selling? How can you create alternative methods to get the job done if travel is shut down?
- Supply chains are now global. But one thing companies should learn from the coronavirus is that every link in the chain is vulnerable to disruption. Creating redundancies in all of the systems that help supply customers with products is an important way to learn from the pandemic.
- Taking care of your workers should remain a high priority. Given that the flow of goods was disrupted, should your business consider stockpiling hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies, masks, and other items for your workers? Should your company keep workers remote? How will this change workflows, and even, potentially, your bottom line?
These are just a few areas where we can learn from our pandemic experience. Another area to consider is staffing. PrideStaff helps companies find skilled workers even during challenging times. We’d like to speak with you about how we can help your team move forward during this crisis. Contact us today.