Are You Prepared For a Second Wave?

According to Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the prospect of a second wave of the coronavirus infection across Europe is far from a distant theory: “The question is when and how big.” 

With lockdown rules easing and many returning to work, businesses must translate the lessons they’ve learned into strategies that ensure operations are sustained and any risks associated with a second spike are managed. 

Of course, risk assessments and business continuity procedures existed before the pandemic; they just weren’t prioritised. While senior leaders now acknowledge that such planning is critical, the uncertain economy has meant many are operating more leanly, which could have a detrimental impact on their ability to build and implement such a plan. 

Here, we explore the key areas that require immediate attention to ensure business continuity while the effects of the virus are still being realised and in the event of a second wave. 

Contingent workforce 

As a direct result of the pandemic, businesses are focusing on ways they can remain flexible and agile into the future. A fundamental way to ensure workforce continuity and provide the necessary flexibility businesses need right now is to increase the contingent workforce. 

If a business has never relied on temporary labour before, implementing such a model can be challenging. It’s crucial to have a handle on workforce planning so you can pinpoint the operational areas that complement contingent workers, as well as forecast the required hours and expenses. Additionally, the management of a temporary workforce involves coordination between finance, HR and operations departments, as well as any temporary workforce specialists a business is partnered with. 

Disaster recovery plan

Hiring temporary employees is an effective option when it comes to workforce continuity, but should only be considered if you have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place. While previously associated with IT companies and the reinstatement of technology, a disaster recovery plan has risen to prominence for all businesses due to COVID-19. 

Owners now have an acute understanding of what constitutes a catastrophic event and, as such, can bolster their plans to incorporate continuity. For a temporary workforce to be effective, any department that a business deems essential should take the time to establish and document how things are done on a day-to-day basis as well as how tasks are assigned. 

Supply chain 

Disruptions to global supply chains during a disaster are inevitable. A Fortune report revealed that 94 per cent of the Fortune 1000 companies experienced supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19. Businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact that a second spike of the virus could have on their supply chain arrangements and commercial viability, particularly where operations span multiple jurisdictions with different levels of lockdown and subsequent approaches to lifting it. 

As a result, it’s imperative to review current chains and contracts to identify any weaknesses or gaps that a second wave could expose. This is particularly important when it comes to talent acquisition, especially if your business is likely to experience hiring spurts in the vein as those we saw in the retail and healthcare sectors during the lockdown.

Such an increased reliance on the recruitment supply chain means businesses must take several steps to ensure its ongoing resilience and preparedness for disaster, including: 

  • Identifying resourcing risks and aligning with business-critical providers
  • Establishing partnerships that maximise added value and offer additional support
  • Checking how the pandemic has impacted their business
  • Reviewing and adjusting SLAs to ensure ROI. 
  • Confirming their business continuity plans, should the pandemic peak again. 

Life After Lockdown  

For more information on preparing your business and workforce for a second wave of the virus, download our Life After Lockdown guide.