The exponential spread of COVID-19 has forced several countries to adopt social distancing and lockdown measures, putting a severe strain on all aspects of life, including business. A key point to take from this situation is the extent to which these organisations have been prepared for such a significant event. With similar lockdown policies, such as those in Italy Since 9th March 2020, likely to come into place in many other parts of the world, there is a great risk to the state of both the global economy and local businesses alike.
Current UK government guidance advises people to work from home where possible and only travel when essential, alongside the recent announcement of a lockdown for all but key workers. These measures, although important and necessary, have the potential to generate a dramatic economic impact. The prediction that the number of cases is expected to rise from the current number of 5,687 indicates that the situation is likely to worsen significantly before it improves.
Economic impacts are already materialising, with airline Flybe collapsing, and more recently furniture and fashion chain Laura Ashley entering administration. The business has expressed its fears for the future, saying: “The Covid-19 outbreak has had an immediate and significant impact on trading, and ongoing developments indicate that this will be a sustained national situation.” The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has put unprecedented measures in place to mitigate the impact of the crisis, such as making £330 billion worth of loans available to businesses and also paying up to 80% of employees’ wages via his COVID-19 Staff Retention Scheme.
These policies put in place by the UK government do offer a degree of reassurance for businesses. On the other hand, they may mask the true impact of the impending economic crisis, at least in the short term.
The ability of an organisation to continue to operate during a business disruption is vital to its survival, recovering rapidly will enhance its reputation. In this case, having an effective business continuity strategy is key to a business’ ability to weather the storm of events of all shapes and sizes. At RAB Consultants, we have highly qualified and experienced consultants located across the UK who can advise on all aspects of business continuity, crisis management and current threat and risk to public or private enterprise.
If you feel that your business is at risk from the potential impacts of the virus outbreak, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to provide advice on developing a business continuity system that will leave your organisation better prepared.