Business Continuity Planning For The Coronavirus Pandemic
Business Continuity Planning For The Coronavirus Pandemic

Business Continuity Planning For The Coronavirus Pandemic

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

We’re all doing our best right now to protect our families, communities, employees and businesses. Paycor is committed to sharing best practices and offering what general advice we can to SMB leaders who may be scrambling to put plans in place.

What is a business continuity plan?

It’s a plan to maintain business functions during an outbreak. There’s no one-size fits all model and, if you don’t have anything in place, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Now’s the time for SMB leaders to overcommunicate, outline processes, do your best and learn as we go.

Start with 4 questions:

  1. How are we keeping our employees safe?
  2. How can we ensure that mission-critical tasks get done?
  3. How can we continue to work with suppliers?
  4. What’s our communication plan? Get a Coronavirus communication plan template here.

How are we keeping our employees safe?

Business leaders want to keep their employees safe. Here’s what to do.

  1. Appoint a Pandemic Manager.
  2. This person should update basic contact and especially emergency contact information for all employees. They’re also responsible for disseminating all urgent employee communications in the weeks to come.

  3. Create a succession plan.
  4. Key leaders might get sick for a day, a week or a month. Develop a succession plan and make it official and distribute widely so everyone’s on the same page and bought in.

  5. If possible, mandate work from home.
  6. Immediately implement a work from home (WFH) policy for employees who can do so without negatively impacting your business. The fewer employees you have in the office, the better for the workers who have to be on-site.

    Get a Free Work From Home Agreement Template

  7. Understand new Paid Sick Leave Policy.
  8. The president declared a national emergency and Congress passed a relief bill to the Senate to provide billions of dollars to help sick workers and prop up a slumping economy. If possible, go above and beyond: review your absenteeism and sick leave policies and consider temporarily allowing employees to take unlimited PTO to care for themselves or family members.

  9. Shut down travel.
  10. Restrict overseas travel and attendance at large work-related events such as tradeshows and conferences. Ask employees who have recently traveled to overseas “hot spots” such as China, Italy, France or Spain, and domestic “hot spots” such as New York City, San Francisco or Seattle to make sure they don’t have a fever before coming to work (if they have to come in at all).

  11. Screen all office visitors.
  12. Develop a visitor screening and follow-up plan. Use a health screening form for all facility visitors. Include questions such as:

    • Do you have a fever, sore throat or cough?
    • In the past 14 days have you been out of the country?
    • In the past 14 days have you been in contact with a person who has COVID-19?


How can we ensure that mission-critical tasks get done?

Admittedly, this is a tough one and it’s going to vary enormously from business to business. Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Over-communicate.
  2. Identify key stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and service providers and communicate the measures you’re taking during the pandemic. Open up lines of communication and ask what they’re doing. Coordinate as much as possible.

    Read the SMB Leaders' Guide to Coronavirus Communications

  3. Can you create alternate teams?
  4. If your business has the luxury of at least some redundancy, create alternating teams that can work different schedules. For example, alternating teams could take turns working in the office and remotely. Similar to succession planning for leadership, it can be helpful to have backup planning in place in case team members get sick. Where it makes sense, cross-train employees and establish arrangements to cover shifts or processes to minimize disruption.

How can we continue to work with suppliers?

  1. Get everything down on paper.
  2. Leaders should work together to identify key suppliers, prioritize them, contact them to learn what they’re contingency plans are, and if possible, activate alternate suppliers. If necessary, leaders can meet virtually with videoconferencing services such as Zoom.

  3. Maintain local contacts.
  4. Open lines of communication with suppliers on the ground. You’re not always going to be able to get updated, accurate information about supply chains, so your best bet is to rely on people with firsthand, frontline knowledge of what’s going on.

  5. Run outage scenarios.
  6. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. How long can your business operate with supply chain delays? Consider all options to make the most with what you’ve got. And by all means, over-communicate and be transparent with all stakeholders.

What’s our communication plan?

  1. Appoint a Communications Coordinator.
  2. In conjunction with the Pandemic Manager, identify a Communications Coordinator to distribute business continuity plans to all employees. For at least the coming weeks, you’ll need to streamline communications with all key stakeholders and it’s much easier with a single point of contact.

  3. Over-communicate schedules.
  4. Ensure that employees feel confident about when and where they’re working. Send a message with your scheduling—show them that they’re not alone and that your organization has a plan in place that’s both well thought out and flexible to accommodate unforeseen interruptions.


Paycor is Here to Help

To talk to a Paycor consultant, contact us today. Paycor will continue to publish expert advice and timely information during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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