Most major organizations had extensive preparations in place to maintain business continuity in the case of an emergency. In the event of this pandemic, many of those measures turned out to be inadequate as they hadn’t considered the flexibility needed when large groups of people couldn’t get together face-to-face. More flexible ways of working will be an essential element of any future resilience, business continuity or disaster contingency planning.
One of our clients told us ruefully about their disaster plans. They even had a whole back-up building available near to their head office with fully functioning IT systems and adequate desk space, just waiting for people to move there if there was a disaster that hit their head office.
They hadn’t considered that people might not be able to come to work locations. They also found that whilst the back-up building had great IT systems, many people didn’t have up-to-date laptops or software available to enable remote working.
It’s always hard to anticipate the next disaster, but it’s clear that more flexible ways of working and a technology infrastructure that enables remote working at scale gives you many more options to be flexible. It is our way of working, not the physical infrastructure that gives us flexibility.
If you are involved in disaster planning or organizational resilience, what ways of working do you need for the future to be able to respond flexibly to changes in working environments?
It’s likely that the flexibility of your people and their ability to work from anywhere will be an important part of this.