Organisations “exposed to significant risk” due to lack of workplace recovery arrangements

A “disconnect” exists between business continuity professionals and end users when it comes to workplace recovery. That’s according to a report just published by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and supported by Regus Workplace Recovery. The global study shows that, while only 12% of business continuity experts confirm their organisation lacks a workplace recovery arrangement, 31% of end users claim their employers don’t have any arrangements in place, or that they’re unaware of what they are.

The Workplace Recovery Report notes that even organisations with workplace recovery arrangements in place face risk and uncertainty when it comes to actual recovery plan implementation. One out of every five of those experts questioned feels “uncomfortable” that their organisation’s employees will execute their work area recovery solution as planned, while 17% of end users are not comfortable they can carry on services in the case of an area-wide event.

Other top line findings of the report, the results of which were generated by an online survey*, include the following:

*37% of end users are either unaware of (or otherwise unable to provide) feedback on their organisation’s workplace recovery arrangements
*26% of end users and 16% of experts feel that their organisation’s business continuity priorities are not fully consistent with end user priorities
*Three quarters of end users consider themselves to be ‘critical’, while 64% of experts believe only 20% of employees fall into this category
*Nearly four out of every five end users believe that there’s a workplace recovery plan in place for them in the event of a disruption
*’Work from home’ received less consideration as a workplace recovery approach from experts than from employees (26% versus 44%)
*45% of end users are not happy about working from home for more than two weeks at a time
*When deciding whether to work from an alternative location or from home, 32% of employees base their decision on the ease of reaching alternative sites, while 20% focus on access to key enterprise systems and 15% on having appropriate office infrastructure in place

Capable teams

The success of a chosen strategy such as workplace recovery depends on its proper implementation by staff, led by a capable business continuity or resilience team. The results reveal that experts have a basic level of confidence in the capability of staff to effectively execute workplace recovery during disruption. However, there are still gaps in awareness and implementation that need to be addressed.

The safety of employees remains a key priority for both workplace recovery experts and end users. This needs to be articulated by practitioners as it can facilitate staff buy-in for workplace recovery and enable the embedding of business continuity throughout the organisation.

While priorities among experts and end users differ down the line, it’s useful to communicate the importance of workplace recovery as a chosen strategy in appropriate language and along staff priorities.

Many employees also reveal a preference for working from home during an incident. This may be related to their desire to be close to their families during a crisis – a fact that should be strongly considered prior to selecting a single recovery facility that’s a long distance from where the employee lives. This also carries significant implications for organisations such as ensuring that employees’ homes are conducive to such an arrangement from a business continuity, risk or Health and Safety perspective.

Building resilience within the business

Patrick Alcantara DBCI, senior research associate at the BCI and author of the new report, commented: “When executed properly in line with an holistic business continuity programme, workplace recovery can help build resilience within organisations. As part of the business continuity strategy for many organisations, it’s important to benchmark workplace recovery such that it leads to better planning and implementation. The BCI Workplace Recovery Report aims to respond to practitioner demand and provide much-needed insight on this subject. We would like to thank Regus for supporting this work.”

Joe Sullivan, managing director for workplace recovery at Regus, commented: “With natural disasters impossible to predict and an increased risk from other world events, the need for an established workplace recovery plan is now greater than ever. We feel that, when disaster strikes, ensuring your people have a secure and productive work environment is far more difficult than simply recovering your IT. We need to understand how employees will react in the aftermath of a crisis. This research starts to take a look at these behaviours. It’s the first of its kind to do so.”

*Download a full copy of the report by clicking here

**The online survey was conducted during July this year and received 565 responses from ‘experts’ and 349 from ‘end users’, all from a total of 78 countries

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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