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A Business Continuity Plan or BCP prepares you to be able to continue business when a disaster or emergency strikes.

However it’s more proactive than a Disaster Recovery Plan as it works to minimize or eliminate the impact of a disaster, rather than just recover from it. With storms currently lashing the country, employees not being able to work, and many people without power, ensuring you have a robust and functioning BCP may be the difference between your business coping, and not coping.

What should you have in a BCP?

You should include a list of all possible threats or risks to your business and the impact of this. Things like a fire burning one of your buildings down, or a power cut or even an accident or death of one of your team. Rate the level of impact and the likelihood of it happening and you can focus first on the high impact, most likely issues.

You should have a list of key people in key functions that your business will need to keep operating. This may not be the executive team - it may be the accounts team to make sure that people continue to pay so you don’t have cash flow issues, or the person who deals with insurance. Make sure that you have as many different ways to contact them listed in the plan – their home phone, personal mobiles, email addresses, LinkedIn details, home address etc. This is personal information that you are only collecting to be used if there is an emergency.

List your critical business equipment or documents. How will you be able to access this if needed? What are the passwords you’ll need? Are there copies of these documents stored in storage or electronically backed up? If you use Dropbox or similar, who has access to which folders?

What are your contingency equipment or office options? List out where you can hire computers, or where the printing places are that you will use if you can’t access your printers. Where will you hire cars from? Where will people work from? Do you have other offices that are nominated? Is there a hotel or café that people will gather at?

Who can work from home? Have a list of people who have equipment at home (or have work laptops).

List all your suppliers  that you might have to get in touch with if your worksite isn’t accessible. Make sure you can still access your customer databases even if the power is out.

Weather the storm with BCP: Business Continuity Plan

Once you’ve done all of those things, you then need to develop a ‘SCENARIOS’ section in the plan which lists different scenarios and who will do what in that situation. These need to be really specific so everyone listed in the BCP knows who will do what and when. I’ve listed a real example below.

Then you need to make sure that everyone in the plan has a hard copy and soft copy – and that they have saved a copy at home or to carry with them.

Lastly you need to do another version of the plan for all staff. It won’t have all the personal information in it, however it should outline what will happen in different types of emergencies so they know where they will be working from, who will contact them, where they should go etc.

Another issue that should be included in your BCP is planning for a flu outbreak or any contagious disease. If you do have employees who are showing symptoms of the disease then send them to the doctor.

Under the Holidays Act, if an employee has sick leave and you ask for a medical certificate for one day off, then you need to cover the costs of this.

However this is where things can get confused. With an issue like a flu outbreak or a contagious disease it’s actually not a sick leave issue. It’s actually a safety issue. Sick leave may come into play depending on time off, however you have to ensure that you provide a safe workplace for people – so if employees are exhibiting symptoms, it’s your responsibility to send them to the doctor or send them home.  

TO CONSIDER:  Complete this audit around having a BCP plan in place.

: People Matter

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