Ian Hart

Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

June 11, 2020

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A Barbour guide to business continuity

Coronavirus ‘second wave’ feared as leading threat to business continuity

70% of companies’ primary business continuity concern is further disruption from a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst 16% of organisations said that employee mental health issues were affecting the performance of their business, according to a recent survey.

In a new survey, carried out by medical and security services firm, International SOS, over 70% of companies said that their primary business continuity concern is further disruption from a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The International SOS Return to Work survey, which polled over 1,000 professionals responsible for the health, safety, security and wellbeing within their organisations, also unveiled that over 20% of firms expect mental health issues to also pose a major threat in the coming 12 months.

Respondents also said that, whilst there is a keen focus on return to work measures, over a fifth (21%) of the respondents still don’t have a pandemic plan and process in place.

Are organisations doing enough to return to work safely and combat a second wave?

The survey found that the top two priorities organisations are implementing in their safe return to work are:

These are followed by implementation of COVID-19 compliance monitoring tools (56%), health screening (50%) and mental health support (44%).

Dr Mark Parrish, Regional Medical Director at International SOS, said: “It would seem that there are many who are missing out on protecting their people and their business. We should be mindful that there may be a layering of issues, such as security incidents and concurrent health issues, which all need to be addressed alongside the continuing pandemic and as we return to work and operations.

“There are ‘low hanging’ initiatives that seem to come further down the priority list but could be major risk mitigation assets. For instance, TeleConsultation helps support employee health in all circumstances, including lockdowns and when physical medical consultations are not advised and not necessary.”

Mental Health at-risk

The risk to mental health is considered the fourth biggest threat to business continuity over the next year, with over one fifth of respondents fearing that this will have an impact. This follows disruption from a potential COVID-19 second wave (73%), country lockdowns (67%) and international border restrictions (57%). The results revealed that over 17% of those surveyed said that mental health issues had already impacted the continuity of their business operations.

Issues currently affecting continuity of operations

  • Country lockdown measures – 82%;
  • International border controls – 56%;
  • Inadequate home working infrastructure – 32%;
  • Lack of accurate and timely information – 17%;
  • Mental health issues – 16%;
  • Lack of robust business continuity planning – 14%.

Dr Parrish, concluded: “The issue of mental health potentially being a major threat to business resilience has been brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic. Home working, isolation and the stress of the unknown is taking its toll on many of the workforce. It will be important to address this going forward, extending confidential support to employees whenever and wherever they need it the most.”

This article first appeared on IFSEC Global’s sister title, SHP Online.

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