Epidemics have often been more influential than statesmen and
soldiers in shaping the course of political history,
and diseases may also color the moods of civilizations.
Up to this point, every plan has been based on an incident that adversely affected the operation of a company process—or even the company itself. These events triggered activation of the incident response plan. With work and a bit of luck, the incident’s impact was quickly minimized and the company moved on.
A pandemic requires a very different type of plan. It fits under business continuity planning as a disruption of the flow of business. Unlike the sharp suddenness of a disaster, a pandemic may appear gradually and then run for several months or even years. The disease follows its favorite season around the globe and ends up again on your doorstep—often more virulent than before.
A pandemic refers to an infectious disease that is spread by contact with people. Therefore, minimizing contact with people is essential. This might be between employees, as well as between employees and customers. For some businesses, this is not a problem. For others that depend on face-to-face customer contact, it requires a well-considered plan to minimize contact and to sanitize areas.
A pandemic affects more than people. It can change the demand for the goods and services offered by your company. If your services are offered person to person, it might reduce demand, as people seek to minimize personal contact. Are your products something that are used as people interact? Are they something used at home where people may shelter their families from others? Do your products provide something to ease the pandemic such as improved personal sanitation or face masks?