Do you think your business would survive another international crisis? Even a regional or industry crisis?
If there’s one thing the past 18 months have shown us it’s that our commercial ecosystem is nowhere near as robust as we thought it was pre-covid. In broad terms, businesses globally were wholly unprepared for the kind of widespread disruption experienced. However, evolution has weighed in and businesses have mutated and pragmatically adapted to come back stronger.
At the forefront of this commercial evolution is the concept of a business continuity plan. But what exactly is this? Why is it important? What can we learn from companies that are already using one effectively?
A business continuity plan is an organisational strategy for continuing commercial activities at a sufficient level during a significant disruptive event.
The two main aspects of a business continuity plan are avoidance and recovery. So, when potential disruptions arise, the first goal is to avoid them, and the second goal is to adapt to overcome them.
For different types of businesses and for different types of disruptions, a business continuity plan will look very different. It might involve switching to alternative suppliers, engaging in the remote provision of services, or establishment of new office space.
How Does a Business Continuity Plan Work?
As we’ve mentioned, plans will vary quite a bit between different businesses. However, there is an international standard available for business continuity plans, provided by the International Organization for Standardization. The standard is referred to as ISO 22301.
Any business continuity plan should involve these five key levels:
Working through a continuity plan is a bit tricky because, on the one hand, you’re trying to foresee significant disruptions but, on the other hand, a big part of the task is preparing for the unforeseeable. Therefore, it’s important to try to keep a wide scope and plan on the very worst occurring.
But there are also some excellent case studies that show how businesses have implemented concrete strategies for enduring a range of unforeseeable disruptions.
A good example is Toyota’s massive global investment in its production facilities, which involves the modification of its production lines to make them more adaptable to different manufacturing operations. This capability allows Toyota to go on delivering its full range of products to consumers even if factories specialising in the production of particular vehicles are hit by a major disruptive event.
Another good example is DHL’s Resilience 360 program, which uses AI technology to detect natural disasters and to optimise its transportation routes accordingly. In fact, this a technology that DHL actually leases to other firms so that they can make their supply chains more resilient in their own business continuity strategies.
Another company that offers its own business continuity infrastructure to the broader public is Amazon. Through its Amazon Web Services arm, the company provides tools to help businesses manage their workloads when other IT infrastructure has been disabled. It allows businesses to keep carrying out online processes and to continue accessing their operational data.
If you would like to see a sketch of an actual business continuity plan, you can view a summary of the business continuity framework for the Australian Department of Parliamentary Services.
Incorporating Christie Spaces into Your Business Continuity Plan
One of the primary aspects of a business continuity plan should be establishing a protocol on where to move operations if a businesses physical workplace is disrupted. This disruption may occur because of things like natural disasters, gas leaks, or building faults (among many, many other circumstances).
When these things happen, it’s critical that a business can set up quickly somewhere else, without missing a beat. This is where flexible workspace options should be included in your business continuity plan.
At Christie Spaces, we can offer you a readymade workplace recovery solution by giving you access to temporary office space while the disruption at your premises is addressed. At Christie Spaces, we can cater for teams of all sizes, from two or three people all the way up to a large organisation with hundreds of employees. From open offices to project spaces and large private offices, we have the facilities to get you back up and running whatever the circumstances.