When disaster strikes (not too hard to imagine these days), most people enter "fire-fighting" mode, change their priorities and deal with it. As a contractor you are a business owner. And businesses require a bit more pre-planning than that. Sure, your business may have only a single employee but that makes this employee pretty important to the company! Even small businesses have suppliers, customers and partners that count on them. A Business Continuity Plan ensures that you know what to do in what order should something unforeseen come up. Elements of a good BCP vary upon which source you check. In general, they contain these main components:
Understanding what is critical to your business' operations
Determining the most important functions within your business
Identifying how long these functions can continue to operate during an emergency situation
Assigning some measure of risks to each based on your analysis
Coming up with a plan that addresses these risks (heavy emphasis on open and timely communications with your stakeholders)
Some suggest a final point -- Testing the plan. But, depending on your situation, this may not be possible.
There is no shortage of advice online about how to tackle this business planning. A big part of Eagle's business continuity plan is how we leverage technology. It's been over 10 years now, that we adopted technology that fully enabled our workers to work remotely should it come to that. In 2013, the Calgary flood closed the downtown core for many days. No one was allowed in or out and many businesses ground to a halt. Eagle's BCP kicked in and we continued to service our clients and work with our contractor partners without any significant impact. Key aspects to our technology included cloud-based ERP/CRM, Digital Communications (VoIP, etc.), internal messaging systems and ensuring that all employees have a proper workspace and equipment to be able to be productive and effective from home.
Best Practices for Working from Home
Today, more and more of our clients are directing their staff to work remotely to encourage "social distancing". As a contractor, this would be required of you as well. Besides the security concerns that would need to be arranged with the client, working from home requires some best practices/skills in addition to having the technology in place that would allow your work to continue when clients shut off access to their offices. Here are some links to past Talent Development Centre posts that share ideas with respect to telecommuting, or as we call it at Eagle, WORKshifting (working wherever you are most productive):
These are strange times and uncharted waters! Hopefully, you have a BCP and are implementing it now. And, if not... well, as the old saying goes... "The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago. The second best time is today." All the best to you as the world works through these health challenges! Take care -- stay safe.