How to Make Your Company Pandemic Proof in 2021

February 19, 2021

Covid 19 has had a huge impact on most economies across the globe. 2020 brought forward the biggest economic recession that Singapore has witnessed in a decade. Although the brunt of this recession was not borne equally by all industry sectors, it is safe to say that most small and medium enterprises struggled to keep their business from suffering irreversible losses. The pandemic will still cast its dark shadow among businesses despite it now being 2021. However, adopting certain technological trends and embracing digital transformation can save the day.

Singapore’s approach towards dealing with the pandemic and its economic impact has been commendable. The government, along with other imminent organizations, has provided SME’s with monetary as well as informational support and guidance. The government has played its part, and companies need to play their own in order to stay up on their feet.

Given below are some steps to protect companies in Singapore from the adverse effects of the Pandemic:

Becoming Aware:

The most important thing is to become aware of the possible market trends, available help from the country’s government, and safety measures that are being recommended. Panic and fear feed the pandemic’s negative impact. However, being aware of the possibilities will help plan ahead and be prepared.

Risk Management & Mitigation Strategies:

The next step for businesses is to have a risk management system in place to fall back on when the need presents itself. Mitigation strategies will vary on the industry type and geographical location of your business. However, it can be surmised in the following 5 steps:

Risk Management & Mitigation Strategies
  1. Readiness Assessment:If a company is unaware of where their continuity program stands, a risk management assessment can help fix the gaps and prepare better for them to continue being productive even in the time of pandemic. There are many readiness assessment templates(specific to the industry type, core functions, and the pandemic) that will help decide where your company stands.
  2. Risk Management Plan: An assessment involving how new risks such as pandemics, geopolitical disturbances, and economic recessions can affect the core processes of a business must be recognized and strategies to deal with same should be put in place,
  3. Business Impact Analysis: Just as the recession in Singapore brought forward by the Pandemic has not affected all industry sectors in the same way, in a business there are always core functionalities that are more prone to risk. It is the job of the executives of any business to recognize their core processes and how much they will be impacted in a situation such as the Pandemic. This is what Business Impact Analysis refers to.
  4. Policy Management: Existing policies will keep requiring revision as the scenario of the economy and spread of the pandemic changes. For instance, work from home policies and safety guidelines will be reshaped according to the instruction of the Ministry of Health.
  5. Incident Management:This refers to a system where employee issues can be resolved in a quick and effective manner that involves a holistic view and flow of information from the employee to management. Basically, it refers to there being a remote place of emergency reporting that can be tracked and recorded in a way that helps the entire organization cope with difficult situations.

Expand Use of Digital Technologies

According to a report by McKinsey & Company that studies the implications of Covid 19 on businesses, only the companies that had scaled the use of Digital technologies into their organization were able to fight off the negative impact of Covid 19. 2020 was a huge wake up call for companies who have not yet begun their processes of Digital transformation or were in the initial stages of it. We don’t need reports to tell us that recovery will be digital, especially when the pandemic calls for social distancing and avoiding close physical interaction. We know that the recovery will be digital, and an excellent way to mitigate the risk of current or any future pandemic is to embrace digitalisation.

Expand Use of Digital Technologies
  • Review existing IT tools and technologies

The recent pandemic forced many offices to shut down and businesses had to be run virtually. To avoid any problems in the smooth running of operations and other crucial processes, companies should ensure that they have the right infrastructure.

The first step is to review the existing technology you own and put to use. Is it up to date? Are the employees finding it easy to use? One can then analyse whether their technology stack is sufficient to carry out all tasks methodically. Any opportunity for additions/replacements in the IT infrastructure that will help facilitate important processes, should not be missed. The focus should be on setting up user friendly technology and implementation of tools that make daily

  • Invest in IT Infrastructure

Investing in convenient tools, software systems, and applications is a good way to ensure that daily processes can be carried out effectively. Regular tasks and processes can be made easier and user friendly with the right tools. IT plays a huge role in any company’s overall digital transformation.

  • Improve tasks with Automation

Everyday tasks that are performed on a regular basis should be optimised with the use of right technology and tools. One needs to weed out the repetitive time consuming tasks and convert them into easy and effective automated processes. Automation is a great way to optimize the workflow in any company. Priority should be given to the tasks that add the highest value, but automation should also gradually shift to cover all processes.

Encourage Remote Work and Virtual Collaboration

Work-from-home has become a common term during these times, and businesses must have a system in place which allows for the same.

Encourage Remote Work and Virtual Collaboration

This does not mean complete shutdown of office locations. Despite the relaxation in restriction of travel and social distancing norms, companies need to evaluate which processes require the most attention to avoid losses, and figure out a way to keep those processes running effectively while employees work from home. Employees should have the resources to work and report in a manner that ensures their safety and the productivity of the company.

Team leaders and management personnel should employ work reporting and tracking softwares. Organization of group meetings and discussions virtually also need to be prioritized so everyone feels like they are in the loop and still working towards a common goal.

Prioritize People

It is important for companies to put the safety and wellness of their human resources at top. Therefore, commitment to following safety measures and not pressurizing the employees to the point of break-down is important. It is only when the employees of a certain business stay healthy and work productively, that a company can make the best of their resources. Therefore, employees should be made aware that their company cares for their safety.

In Singapore, as well as around the globe, it is the hospitality and tourism industry that has been most impacted by the pandemic. Although these businesses are getting back on their feet with the pandemic receding, it is a slow process. The tourism and hospitality sectors must prioritize sanitization and health safety measures to lure its customers back. However, most people still don’t feel comfortable dining out or making travel plans. But the silver lining is, most people are also fed up with the restrictions put forward by the pandemic. Once all these restrictions are uplifted and people start to feel safe, these industries are bound to witness a surge in the demand of their services. Most people are craving to sit in a restaurant and enjoy their favorite cuisine, and go to their favorite holiday destinations.

In conclusion, what would really make businesses immune to the negative impacts of the recent and any future pandemic, is preparedness. Having a well thought-out risk management plan that works, and holding the proper digital technologies that help execute this plan, is what makes businesses pandemic proof in 2021.