Posted: November 23rd, 2020 3:03pm +00:00

How has COVID 19 affected your risk register?

Risk management is recognised by most businesses as crucial for business success. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of risk management and has seen many businesses change the way they work, and potentially how and what they supply to their customers, and these changes will mean changes to their risk register too.

Risk register changes during the pandemic
Risk registers act as a talking point for risk for organisations. With risk categories identified, organisation’s can highlight the risks that affect or could affect their business. With all the potential risks identified, if the risk occurs then the planned controls can be implemented. The pandemic should have featured on an organisation’s risk register; however, the likelihood obviously increased when the pandemic first came about, and the impact would have changed from low to high. The level of control required would have increased too to minimise the affect of the pandemic on the organisation. The length of the pandemic could not have been predicted and will have impacted the controls taken by organisations. Redeployment may have occurred in organisations to ensure that their main service or the most important element was prioritised.

New risks due to diversification
The COVID 19 pandemic has seen businesses diversify and change their business processes to meet customers’ demands. Any new risks because of these changes will need to be identified and monitored. Many small businesses which rely solely on providing their goods in a shop, are perhaps now selling online. This could be a huge opportunity but also opens the business to new risks that they had previously not been exposed to. Technological risks for example will now be more likely and have a greater impact than before. Many restaurants started providing a takeaway service or delivery service that was not available prior to the pandemic. Health & safety risks would of course have existed for the restaurant previously but will now have increased in importance. The way in which the food is transported safely at the correct temperature, for example, will require controls to mitigate the growing health and safety risk with regards to takeaways. With the correct level of controls in place, the new service provided could be successful and sustained even after the effect of COVID 19 has passed.
Supermarkets struggled to keep up with the demand for deliveries and many smaller businesses thrived by offering new delivery services – butchers and greengrocers for example. Supermarkets in this instance are experiencing a demand risk alongside competitor risk. They would need to look at their resources and make an informed decision about where to put their focus and also what controls to put in place to retain the customers in the long term that are now being forced to shop more locally currently.
The first lockdown saw many organisations close or temporarily close while trying to implement these new processes and plans.

Working from home risks
Organisations that were able to function effectively while staff worked from home still had several issues to overcome and reviewing their risk registers would still be necessary.
Staff may need additional equipment to successfully work from home (laptops, printers, monitors), their internet may not be as powerful as in the office and additional technology applications may be required to ensure collaboration among staff. Cyber security will move up the risk register in terms of likelihood and impact as there is less control when people are working from home and your systems are considerably more vulnerable. Reviewing policies and communicating these to staff will be an important control measure.
The mental & physical wellbeing of your staff may be more prominent on your risk register which may need some controls to assist with this risk. Some organisations have put additional measures in place such as care packages, health and safety reviews, company/team drinks via Zoom to ensure everyone has human contact.

Temporary closure risks
If organisations have had to close temporarily, it will be important for them to review their risks and start taking steps to mitigate the risks. Will you lose clientele to competitors who are able to continue? What controls can you put in place to minimise this risk? We have seen gyms close for the second time now in the latest lockdown. With staff furloughed, small business loans/grants available through the government scheme, we hope that many of the businesses will open again when it is safe to do so. Many have paused their customers payments during the closure, some have taken the measure to request continued payments or part payments to ensure the business can remain.

How JCAD CORE can help
No matter where your business sits, thriving due to diversifying, working from home effectively or indeed having temporarily closed, risk management is crucial to survive. JCAD’s risk management software, JCAD CORE is an online tool that allows easy collaboration, encourages risk management awareness across the business and will help your business make informed decisions. Decisions and rationale can be easily documented, and tasks can be allocated, and reminders set to ensure completion. Get in touch for a demo.

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