What is an H1N1 Flu Business COOP Plan?
COOP plans or business continuity of operation plans have become very popular in the business environment and enable entrepreneurs to prepare alternative ways to maintain their production and services in the event that equipment or personnel are suddenly taken out of commission. Although every employee is important to the achievement of the business mission, there are certain key personnel that are necessary for the business's continuity of operations.
These key employees represent strategically vital points in management and authority and underscore the essential functions that must be carried out. If these positions are left unattended, the business will not be able to meet customer needs or fulfill its essential obligations. This is why a comprehensive flu continuity of operations plan needs to contain a succession component in the event these key positions suddenly become vacant. The first step in devising an order of succession is by assessing the current organizational structure and answering these two questions:
1. What does each function uniquely contribute to the organization’s mission?
2. Can this function operate effectively, if this position was vacant?
In determining the relative importance of people and functions, the COOP planning team needs to understand the demographics of their workforce and who may be at the greatest risk to contract the flu. Normally, the flu is highly contagious among all sectors of the workforce, although the elderly and persons with underlying medical conditions are generally considered to be at a higher risk of developing complications arising from the flu.
However, in the case of H1N1, young adults and pregnant women were determined to be the populations at the most risk. The COOP planning team also needs to examine the peaks and troughs of the flu in their region and determine the impact on the business, particularly if the business is seasonally sensitive. In developing the succession component, the skill-sets for the incumbent and successor should be matched as closely as possible.