Female call center agent is working from home. To the left an image of someone's hand is pressing an icon of a call center agent.

Business continuity planning has long been a semi-hidden aspect of many organizations. Still, after the COVID-19 pandemic took over most of 2020, we’ve all had to readjust and reframe how we approach unforeseen events.

Business continuity planning, or disaster recovery plans, help ensure businesses keep running even when unexpected events might otherwise derail business operations—having a business continuity plan in place could make all the difference in helping your team get back to work faster. While there wasn’t much we could do in preparation for COVID-19, we now have a better understanding of how the workforce looks in times of pandemic.

One of the most important changes in organizations across all industries was working from home. As we hopefully overcome the coronavirus pandemic and the effects it’s had, work from home is likely to stay. So what does that mean for your organization’s continuity plan? Let’s take a look at the impact of work from home in the era of COVID-19.

What is business continuity planning?

We spoke a little on this theme above, but to fully grasp how work from home has impacted business continuity plans, it’s essential to understand what that entails. Business continuity plans (BCP) or disaster recovery plans (DR) are the processes and plan an organization has in place to combat unforeseen events. Some common events that require a business continuity plan include:

  • Any unexpected man-made event (riots, burglaries, etc.)
  • Equipment or connectivity issues and failures (blackouts, server malfunctions, downed phone lines, etc.)
  • Natural disasters (floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.)
  • Pandemics
  • Any other unexpected situations or emergency

Without a plan in place, it’s easy to see that a complete breakdown could occur. These events can overwhelm team members and have a ripple effect that may halt operations, negatively impact customer service, result in property damage or even data loss. Certain elements can be employed to keep your business moving and prevent the loss of critical data or time.

What does a business continuity plan include?

Your organization’s disaster recovery plan may include more specialized and industry-specific approaches, but in general, you can expect a business continuity plan to have some of the following characteristics:

  • Alternate site information
  • Contact information for personnel, vendors, and other recovery assistance
  • Escalation procedures
  • Hard-copy, digital, and online reference for all information needed for recovery after a disaster
  • A Step-by-step workflow of the recovery process
  • Work from home options

These processes are regularly tested to ensure they’re up to par and relevant for your business’ continuity plan. Your BPO partner will work closely with you and your team to ensure business continuity is preserved.

What does business continuity planning look like for work from home organizations?

While some organizations have had remote workers for years, the quick change has been difficult for many businesses to implement amid a pandemic. Although most businesses have found their rhythm with a work from home team, many haven’t considered the need for an updated disaster recovery plan.

Traditional cybersecurity threats are still at the top of many IT team’s minds, and with a mix of remote work options throughout many companies, the concern is valid. These concerns bring on a whole new set of precautions that many remote work teams have failed to adopt in their transition to working from home during the pandemic. 

Here are a few crucial strategies your organization should consider implementing if you have teams that work from home.

  1. Acknowledging Internet Access: What percent of your workforce needs internet access to ensure your business can move forward without any disruption? How will employees connect with corporate systems? Do you have the capability to rent equipment out to your workforce? These are all necessary items that should be addressed. 

  2. Available Support: Will your remote workers have access to IT support, and when? Is the data they manage secure in their homes? Educate your team on what a VPN is and what information is safe and not safe to share.

  3. Updated Database: If an emergency does occur, you want to make it as easy as possible for your team members to get in touch with each other. Ensure that this is possible by maintaining a regularly updated employee database that is easily accessible. 

  4. Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure: You never want to put all your eggs in one basket, especially when it comes to the sensitive data that your business manages. Utilizing a mixture of on-site, private cloud, and public cloud storage can be a significant step to take to keep your organization in the clear should an unforeseen event arise.

The global COVID-19 pandemic effects are far more extensive than any of us could have imagined when it began. However, your organization has already handled so much adversity and made necessary changes to keep business moving forward as usual that implementing a new business continuity plan can’t hurt. Ensure your business, whether it’s gone fully remote or utilizes a mix of in-office and work from home team members, is prepared for any event. 

Establish a Business Continuity Plan with DATAMARK

Whether your organization is still playing catch up due to the COVID-19 pandemic or it showed you that your company isn’t as prepared as you thought, getting started with a business continuity plan can keep your business safe. With over three decades in the industry and experience supporting large corporations, Fortune 500 companies, and government organizations, the experts at DATAMARK can help your organization establish a successful business continuity plan that meshes with your work from home team. Contact us to get started.