From employee absences to supply chain disruptions to plunging financial markets, businesses across the globe are scrambling to respond to the impact of new coronavirus and a new survey has found that only 43 per cent of organisations have a plan for dealing with COVID-19 globally. According to the global research firm Forrester's ongoing 'PandemicEX' survey, 29 per cent of employees polled are afraid to go to work due to the risk of exposure to the virus.
At the same time, 45 per cent employees find their work lives disrupted by the coronavirus whether they come into direct personal contact with the virus itself or not, according to VP and Principal Analyst James McQuivey. In many continuity plans, the CIO may be leading the effort to focus on the risk of an IT systems outage.
But for COVID-19, said VP and Group Director Stephanie Balaouras, "You definitely want to put your head of HR in charge of the response, because so much of what you're going to implement is going to be about policies, as opposed to technology." In short, any long-term planning will be difficult until the duration of this pandemic is better known. "If things get worse, spending and supply across a variety of markets could drop off. But if the spread of the disease is contained and fears subside, markets could see a significant uptick," the findings showed.
Not only do companies have to have a continuity plan for keeping the businesses afloat, but they should also recognise that employees are the assets that will keep the businesses going ahead of, during, and after any coronavirus effects. "CIOs may have to push out spending and project plans if technology suppliers and internal IT teams are impacted further," said VP and Principal Analyst Andrew Bartels.
Remote access technologies will play a huge role if a huge portion of the workforce will need to work from home or other remote locations. "But remember, for a large outbreak, during which potentially 20 per cent of your own employees (plus contractors, partners, etc.) are affected, it will be important to have a succession or backup plans in place for critical roles and skills," said Stephanie Balaouras.