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As much of America and the world begins to shut down, what is your plan? Yesterday the CDC banned gatherings of more than 50 people in the United States for the next eight weeks. Companies are now telling employees to work from home (for those who can). Traditional gathering places like restaurants, places of worship, gyms, shopping areas and more are shuttered. We are closing down.

What is your Monday morning plan?

As this all sinks into our conscious, first of all remember our humanity. There are people in our communities who will deeply suffer in this pandemic. How can we support each other in this very difficult time? Shopping for an elderly neighbor, walking someone’s dog because they are ill or checking in on each other in old fashion ways like the phone are simple but powerful suggestions.

For all of my continuity colleagues around the world, our plans are about to be tested like never before. You likely never imagined a sustained event like this one. You must constantly be reevaluating what is critical and important. Your BIA is more like a guide now. Some things you originally thought were important are likely to slide down on the list.

Availability of staff could become challenging as people get sick. Think of documentation of critical processes and cross training NOW! As staff become unavailable, we need to look to build bench strength – that includes you.

Do you have holes in your plans? This is the time to fill them the best you possibly can. Create virtual business groups to work on creative solutions to keep the business operational and think completely outside the box. Many things you were working on are likely to be mothballed for now. Pack them up in a way they can be picked up again when we are on the other side and enacted more smoothly.

What about jobs that can’t be done at home? This leads to the questions of compensation and benefits. How can your company support those who may not be able to work. The stress of no income or benefits likely weighs very heavy on the minds of many this morning.

As you start your Monday, please remember that we are all in this together. It will end, we will recover. Let us share ideas, support each other and carry on.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina Phelps

Regina Phelps is an internationally recognized expert in the field of crisis management, continuity planning, pandemic and infectious disease plans and exercise design. She is the founder of EMS Solutions Inc, (EMSS) and since 1982, EMSS has provided consultation and speaking services to clients in five continents. Phelps is frequent speaker at international continuity conferences and is consistently rated one of the top-rated speakers in her field. She is known for her approachable and entertaining speaking style and her ability to take complex topics and break them into easily digestible and understandable nuggets. She is the author of four books, all available on Amazon: • Crisis Management: How to Develop a Powerful Program • Cyberbreach: What if your defenses fail? Designing an exercise to map a ready strategy • Emergency Management Exercises: From Response to Recovery • Emergency Management Exercises: From Response to Recovery Instructors Guide

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