Pandemic preparedness checklist for businesses preparing to reopen


If you're getting ready to reopen your business amid COVID-19 concerns, use this pandemic preparedness checklist to prepare your workplace efficiently.

2022年8月29日7 分鐘


As businesses around the world cautiously reopen their doors, managers will be confronting a workplace forever changed by the pandemic. This pandemic preparedness checklist can get you started on protecting employees and customers, opening communications channels and understanding which essential operations to sustain.

1. Establish situational awareness

Situational awareness means "understanding what is going on around you," said Regina Phelps, a crisis management expert, speaking during a recent Disaster Recovery Journal webcast. Questions to ask include, "How do you know if your (remote) workforce is sick? How do you know they're doing their job?" Make sure your people are checking in regularly and reporting on their health and conditions around them. Monitor news reports in areas where your organisation operates to get the earliest possible alert of an illness resurgence.

2. Protect critical employees

Most organisations will want to continue allowing employees to work from home in the immediate future. However, some people will have no choice but to come into the workplace. They should have appropriate equipment and conditions to work safely, including face masks, sanitiser liquid, safe transportation and, in some cases, housing and meals. Offices should be reconfigured to provide CDC-recommended social distancing of a minimum of six feet between workspaces and one-way corridors where possible. Cushman & Wakefield's 6 Feet Office offers excellent ideas.

3. Set clear lines of communication

Phelps recommends knowing who the key stakeholders are in your business, including external stakeholders such as the media and investors. Determine optimal communication channels for each. For example, urgent messages are better delivered via text, whereas daily updates may be sent by email or even posted to an internal website. Keep communications brief and infrequent. Too many text updates, for example, can result in "message fatigue," causing people to stop paying attention.

4. Identify backup personnel

In a perfect world, your human resources organisation should already have a skills roster identifying people who are able to back up others when they are unavailable due to illness or lockdown. If such a list isn't available, poll employees using a survey form or simple email response to see who can fill in if necessary. Pay particular attention to people who may have been idled by the crisis but are healthy and willing to pitch in elsewhere.

5. Assess the organisation's health

Some organisations won't survive, so make sure you know exactly how much runway you have. The law firm of Fox Rothschild recommends that you assess your cash and liquidity position, identify cost-saving opportunities and prepare a forward-looking cash flow analysis that accounts for factors such as loss of customers, supply chain disruptions and changes in payment terms with creditors and debtors. Identify emergency sources of liquidity and ask creditors for flexibility on payment terms. The Oregon Economic Development Association has a good list of financial tips for business survival.


As of June 22, 2020, there were 2,251 ongoing clinical studies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. Be mindful of privacy

Some organisations, particularly those with far-flung employee populations, may consider investing in contact-tracing applications to track where their people have been and who they have been in contact with. If you choose to adopt these smartphone apps, be aware of privacy regulations in your region. Michael Zurcher, director and senior counsel of privacy and compliance at Iron Mountain, recommends becoming familiar with the guidelines from the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on data protection. They stress the need for transparency about the purpose of the contact-tracing initiative, why certain features were chosen, the expected benefits and how captured information will be used. The ICO further recommends that users should have maximum control over what data is collected, and that the data is processed securely and disposed of as soon as possible.

7. Learn and prepare

"This pandemic will prepare us for the next crisis that involves full-time working from home," says Sander Deutekom, global brand manager for data centers at Iron Mountain. Integrate tools like videoconferencing and cloud software if you haven't done so already. Shore up networks and backup plans. "For companies with entrenched ways of working, this pandemic has been an early glimpse of the future," Deutekom says.

While it may seem daunting to reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, taking proactive measures such as this pandemic preparedness checklist will get you one step closer to resuming business in the "new" economy. Make the most of it.

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