Risk management is something all entrepreneurs and small business owners have to think about. However, when getting back to business after a temporary shutdown (such as the one that just ended in Ontario) it can be overwhelming enough just to get things up-and-running again. Let’s navigate how to maintain risk management in unprecedented situations, and reopen our businesses with confidence. 

What is risk management?

No matter what kind of business you run, making and securing a risk management plan is essential. Even if you have a solid risk management plan in place, it’s a good idea to refocus and update it. There are specific attributes you should consider: securing the supply chain, operations, cybersecurity, and preventing accidents. 

First, in order to secure the supply chain, maintain an open dialogue with any third-party supplier or partners. Remember, they may also be just returning to the office! Solidify your plans for transporting goods, a drop-off schedule, and any emergency protocols for external complications, such as inclement weather. The clearer everyone is on the protocols, the smoother reopening will go, and the need for risk management will decrease.

Why is risk management important?

Risk management refers to preventing any hazards in the workplace, whether they are fires, data breaches, theft or injuries. Hazards like these can affect the safety of your employees, customers, or confidential and important information regarding your business’s operations. Risk management gives your company something to fall back on in the unfortunate case of a hazard occurring. It is best to speak with members of your team so everyone understands these hazards. Make sure everyone is on the same page about how operations will run. This is important, especially if there are still restrictions in place, such as a maximum capacity or social distancing requirements. If you are running a larger operation, consider opening gradually instead of all at once. 

Protect your business online

Even though the goal for many companies is a return to in-person operation, the progress made online is still valuable. To ensure all of your company’s hard work remains safe virtually, ask all employees to update software used while working remotely. This will lower the risk of a data breach. If any employees left the company while working remotely, ensure their profiles and data are erased from the system. And finally, an important part of risk management and cybersecurity is training employees to avoid any scams. This can include fake emails, texts, or suspicious phone calls. Additionally, we would recommend hiring professionals to assist with more advanced security plans, cyber strategies, and emergency management. To learn more about online scams, click here.

Return to office = Increased likelihood for accidents

And finally, one of the most important parts of risk management is preventing any accidents, where possible. A return to in-person work means the risk of accidents is automatically higher. These accidents can occur to an employee or affect the workspace. Depending on how long your company has been remote, it may have been months since anyone set foot in the office. Before returning to in-person work, inspect the space and its surrounding areas, ensuring everything is as it was. We recommend hiring a specialist for this job. If there are any issues with the building (or in the rare case of an accident), call your isure broker right away.

When back in the office, it’s a good idea to run a couple of drills in case of an emergency. This can include a fire drill to familiarize everyone with the closest emergency exits to their workspace. Additionally, a lockdown drill might be beneficial in case of a potential threat in the area. Different threats will affect different aspects of your business. For example, a personal safety issue will affect individual employees, whereas a tangible or intangible property in danger could affect the company as a whole. Furthermore, once you have set up your risk management plan, make sure to run consistent tests or drills to ensure everything is up and running properly. To set up a new policy for your business, speak with a member of our isure team today!

We hope in following these steps, your return to the office will be smooth and the need for risk management will be low. If you have any questions about your pre-existing business insurance policies or wish to set up a new one, our isure staff is always happy to help!

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