As we enter the second month of Coronavirus Social Distancing and Shelter in Place, there are many lessons that we have learned. Some of these are affirmations of effective advance planning and preparation we thought may never have been necessary. Others are reminders that no matter how much planning and preparation you do, there are always ways to improve – things that you could have done better, if you had a better crystal ball.
Now is the time to take stock of what went well (enough) during this crisis so far, as well as what can be done better. Some of the necessary improvements may be able to be done now, to improve the situation at hand and to improve the potential outcome as we emerge from this situation in the coming weeks, months and possibly, years.
We have been tested in many ways by fires, flooding and other natural disasters over the past several years leading up to this new, invisible enemy, which seems to be the worst of all. There is no reason to believe that we will not be subject to future challenges of this nature. The situation in California is particularly vulnerable. We are prone to wildfires, which can lead to subsequent flooding. And there is always the threat of a devastating earthquake. We are also a hub of travel for commerce and leisure. Our state welcomes millions of people each year from other countries to do business in our state (the fifth largest economy in the world) and our resorts and attractions bring in travelers from all over the world. California is a great place to be, but our state has a certain fragility.
We should plan for future disruptive events and have systems in place to mitigate the impact these events can cause. It is imperative to our families, our employees, and our friends that we all do what we can to make sure that we each can do our part to be prepared.
Things that can be done to prepare for future challenges include:
- Examine your computer systems. We are all so reliant on our networks for communication and commerce that it is imperative that we have back up plans, including the necessary equipment and procedures to survive in the event of a local or widespread power disruption, loss of access to a facility, etc.
- Review your insurance policy
- Determine if your essential information is protected and that you have redundant backup in an alternate location
- Do you have an acceptable method of communicating with the people who are important to you? Do you have a secondary method? A tertiary method?
- Are your files accessible in the event of a local disaster? A widespread disaster?
- Do you have a plan to have mail forwarded to an alternate location?
- Do you have a method to transfer your telephone communications to an alternate source? Are you able to do that remotely?
- Do you have the capability of moving your employees from working “on site” to working remotely? Can it be done quickly from a remote location?
- Do your customers know how to reach you in the event of a disruptive event?
- Does your company have a plan to continue communication in the event of a disaster? Is everyone aware of it?
- Do you have a plan to process mail? Process deposits and maintain controls? Process accounts payable and pay your bills? Have you cross trained your employees to make sure there is coverage?
These suggestions and questions may seem like common sense, but in this crisis which has tested us all, there have been moments in which everyone finds themselves questioning whether they could have planned better. Prepare now for whatever life brings you in the future.