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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

Return to Normalcy

The final of 4 phases of business continuity is Restoration and Return (don't worry, dear reader, I didn't write blogs for the other 3 yet - I'm focusing on a specific concept). It is, clearly, a restoration of business operations and a return to normal. But what is "normal" is the first question and second, "normal" to who?

Normal can be what used to be. It can also be a new normal. Now that the business has been impacted in ways that wasn't expected, and different processes had to be created to restore operations, it's all done a new way. Covid did that for a lot of businesses with online work and pivoting to work from home. Supply chain issues did that for a lot of small businesses where the items they needed became prohibitively expensive (and very late). When an influential leader leaves (or dies) that is going to create a new normal (think Michael Eisner and Bob Iger with Disney).

Pretty soon the new normal just becomes normal. Employees adapt quickly and things carry on as if it were always the way. The business, however, is not a business in a vacuum. One thing happens inside the business, something else bigger and more magical exists outside the business with respect to Restoration and Return.

Since I teach emergency management, I am a big fan of promoting community resiliency. I say it enough in my lectures, it is the standard by which my students will cite any response for anything to do with the 4 stages of emergency management as an overarching goal: "a return to normalcy." What makes things normal for survivors of disasters? Business being open. Business providing services they are used to that resemble the life that got upended. That can be as simple as getting a cup of coffee.

It is easy to forget that outside your limited sphere, other people (employees, business owners, first responders, neighbors, politicians) are also survivors of the disaster that just hit the community. They all have their own challenges with a return to normalcy. If business owners can have a key part in that task, all they really need to do is get to Restoration and Return. How do they do that? You guessed it: with a business continuity plan.

Emergency management and business continuity are so inextricably linked it is easy to see how they are similar and why emergency management is the first initial step in activating a business continuity plan (must save lives first, then worry about moving the computers to the conference room to create new workstations!). They all want the same ending: a return to normalcy.

Returning to normal (whatever that looks like) in your business accelerates the return to normalcy for the community you serve with your mission. Make sure you can carry on your mission. Investing in business continuity is investing in your community resiliency.

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