Reflecting on the Summer of COVID, Tips to Make the Most of Fall

Ahhh, summer. As we try to squeeze in a few more weeks of sunshine and fun before Labor Day officially calls the season a wrap, there’s a lot to reflect on, like just how unexpected so much of 2020 has been.

It’s been particularly exhausting, challenging—and in many ways equally rewarding—for those of us in business continuity.

For those using horizon scanning, insight into the potential impacts of a widespread, health-related event began in late 2019 when coronavirus details began to emerge out of Wuhan, China, that December. In the following weeks, business continuity teams across the globe were called to action, and in just a few short months many organizations’ response plans were in full swing.

Since then, we’ve tackled issues like how to run organizations that require on-site teams with social distancing and other health precautions.

We’ve helped IT and security roll out company-wide work-from-home measures.

We’ve tackled supply chain issues.

We’ve addressed work delays and stoppages.

We’ve embraced Zoom and Slack and how to take business calls in our pajamas while our kids demand help with their latest virtual learning excursions and our spouses take meetings in the laundry room.

Here at Castellan, and likely the same with your company, our employees have embraced the “new normal” as they adapt to this changing work-life balance.

“Working full time with two young children during lockdown has certainly been an interesting and challenging experience,” Claire Powles, global head of software services, said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Tyler Orabone, technology leader.

“Spending so much time in my own house has had me feeling cooped up,” he said.

So how have our team members coped? By getting creative and making the most of it!

Claire, who is based in the United Kingdom, is enjoying a little more freedom these days with more relaxed pandemic-related restrictions compared to here in the U.S., so she and her family have taken full advantage of a bit of a return to normal by planning a family day out every weekend.

“So far we have been to the farm, zoo, theme parks and the coast, making special memories doing the simple things in life that we took for granted before,” she said.

While here in the U.S., Tyler hasn’t had as many opportunities for larger scale entertainment, but he too is making the most of pandemic restrictions by focusing on time each day with his 1-year-old daughter.

“Sometimes we’ll take a walk around the neighborhood or we’ll zip around the driveway in her cozy coupe,” he said. “As fall creeps up on us, I’m trying to come up with creative ways to keep up that tradition. It’s really rewarding being able to take a short break with my family so often.”

Alison Dooley, a senior customer success manager, said in times like these, creativity is key.

“It’s been ‘Camp Dooley’ around here this summer,” she said. “My boys like to stay busy and with limited activities available, we have had to get creative. Most days are spent running around in the backyard or splashing on the ‘water blob’ to stay cool and have some fun.”

Unfortunately, for many families, the pandemic means there were no summer vacation plans—and fall break adventures seem iffy—so family and fun time is taking new forms.

“We spend lots of evenings together as a family, roasting marshmallows, chasing lightning bugs and having ‘camp outs’ in our basement,” Alison said. “It has been difficult not seeing our family and friends like we are used to, but we have been loving and taking advantage of this time we get to spend with our little family of four.”

So, if you’re feeling a bit cooped up and tired from all the COVID-19 challenges as a continuity-focused professional, here are a few more tips to help you make the most out of the dog days of summer as we move into fall.

  1. Research

Unfortunately, in some areas COVID-19 restrictions may mean you can’t access your favorite theme park or sports venues, and social distancing may make it challenging to find a great spot at your local pool, park, or hiking spot.

Before heading out for your next adventure, do your research. Check in with the locations you’re interested in visiting. Are they open? Do they have amended hours? Are there new capacity limits? Are masks required or encouraged? What sanitization procedures are available? Can the location accommodate the number of people coming with you?

Think of it like a business impact analysis. What are the most critical components of your fun day? What happens if one component is disrupted? How does that affect the rest of your plans?

  1. Plan ahead

Days of just jumping in your car and heading out to explore may still be months (or more) away for many, so when it comes to fun in the coming weeks, be sure to plan ahead.

As a business continuity professional, you’re a pro at planning. Think about your objectives, who’s involved, what you want to accomplish, and of course, plan for potential disruptions or disasters, and then make appropriate plans to mitigate so you can still have a great time!

  1. Ensure compliance

Just like you have regulatory and compliance standards in business continuity, each state (and in some places even towns or businesses) have specific COVID-19 standards you’ll be expected to meet.

As part of your research and planning, get versed in what those regulations are and how they may impact your plans. Be prepared to respond accordingly to mitigate risks to your fun day.

  1. Have adequate resources

If you’ve successfully researched your next adventure and planned ahead, don’t have your fun come to a screeching halt because you don’t have adequate resources. Because of COVID-19, excursions aren’t just about sunscreen, sunglasses, and snacks anymore. You’ll also want to make sure everyone has a mask (and a couple of back-ups in case any get lost along the way) and plenty of hand sanitizer, too.

Stay or Go?

Whether you’re choosing to stay at home for your next family adventure or you’re heading out to explore something new or a favorite place, your existing business continuity experience can help you be an adventure-time pro.

Ready for some hands-on help? Let’s discuss how to best achieve your resilience goals.