News & Insights

5 step pandemic business continuity plan

Published 20 March 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic is contained it's important to take action on your business continuity plan. Doing this will help guide your employees and your business through these uncertain times. Here we offer 5 risk management and wellbeing strategies to support the protection of both your business and your people.

To approach this you will need to review your business plans and employee safety protocols; communicate your intentions, citing reputable sources as justification; educate all involved parties to a level where they clearly understand what you’re doing; and continuously maintain contact, informing authorities when required.

1. Review

Safeguard your business by evaluating your continuity plan, insurance coverage and determining alternative plans. It is important to have an overview of your entire business and how you will continue to run during the pandemic.

Identify critical people, process and technologies that have the biggest influence on your business and create recovery strategies to minimise disruption. This could include outsourcing some functions and operating a more flexible workspace, developing work from home options for your employees and putting tele or video working technologies in place.

5 -step-pandemic-business-continuity-plan

Work with your supply chain partners to ensure you have a back-up plan in case of delays or disruption. This may involve increasing inventory levels of high volume products/services.

In terms of protecting your employees, have an overview of the current position of your business and how it will respond during and after a crisis. Release any pre-written materials you may have such as health alerts, vaccination policies and communication protocols during the pandemic.

At the first sign of a pandemic, check your business continuity plans and the procedures embedded in these plans to ensure your organisation is prepared if some of your employees become ill. Your continuity plan should include the measures you will take if an employee is infected, how to accommodate employees who don’t feel safe coming into a communal workspace or whose home life may be impacted by schools or childcare centres closing. It should also include a plan to address any employee who is at risk of infection while travelling in affected areas. 

2. Communicate

Opening lines of communication within your business, with external stakeholders and vendors and with clients can help you respond to and develop mitigation strategies in real time.

Share information with your employees about the pandemic, its scope and impact, your business continuity plan and direct them to credible sources like WHO or the Department of Health for further information.

Encourage employees to speak up if they start to develop any symptoms and reassure them that self-reporting is safe. Request those who have been to areas where the virus has been reported to quarantine themselves. 

3. Educate

Be transparent with internal and external stakeholders about how your business is handling the pandemic.

Make sure your business continuity plan is accessible to all those who may need it during and after the outbreak.

Give your employees up-to-date information about your pandemic safety response via email, text and company-wide updates. Issue travel advisories and any other steps you can take to limit the spread of the pandemic.

4. Prepare


To enable agile response as the situation progresses, appoint a core internal response team that can develop business mitigation processes and plans that can take action as needed.


Take pre-emptive action for your employees’ safety by reviewing your physical workspace for any possible areas of contamination or anywhere that may be accessible for those outside of your company like delivery drivers and couriers. Increase office cleaning and improve company-wide hygiene. Provide products like hand gel and/or masks for your employees, review your work-from-home policy and post educational signs on how employees can protect themselves around the office.

5. Contact

Keep in contact with your staff, stakeholders and clients on how your business is being impacted and responding to the crisis, and what resources are available to support all those involved.

If one of your staff is infected or there is an outbreak of COVID-19 infection within your workplace, seek advice from the Department of Health for your state or territory so you can organise a coordinated response to stop the spread.

How Gallagher can help

As risk management and mitigation experts we can help our clients with the practical aspects of implementing business continuity plans, navigating potential scenarios and ensuring your insurance protection reflects pandemic conditions.

Our award-winning Workplace Risk team can advise and provide guidance on instating processes and tools for workplace safety, moving to working from home, managing mental and emotional stress, and dealing with workers compensation questions.


Connect with an expert


Further reading 

Insurance-market-update: business continuity and your Plan B

Middle market insurance business update: COVID-19 considerations

Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general information purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient’s industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers’ control.
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