The ongoing pandemic is a unique global event for most people living today, but it is important to remember that it is not the first plague the world has faced, and it will likely not be the last. While the world has changed a lot since 1918, the pandemic back then still has a lot of risk management lessons for businesses in 2021.

Taking Precautions is the Key

The Spanish Flu (so named because Spain was the first to publicize its cases, not because the flu had origins in Spain) had many similarities with the current pandemic and required many of the same safety measures that people are being asked to take right now. There were signs outside the businesses that described all customers to wear a mask, theatres of all sorts were closed like these are now, and many businesses delivered services and products outside of the shop, similar to social distancing rules in place in businesses across the world.

Complimentary White Paper - How Today’s Risk Leaders Harness Technology to Drive Innovation

Risk managers will also need to make sure that their organizations have the appropriate rules in place and these rules are being followed properly. This means that risk managers will have to ensure that the organizations have the right policies in place and also that those policies are being followed across the enterprises. Businesses will also need better controls with innovative solutions that allow them to verify the efficacy of controls quickly and while using minimum resources.

Waves Will Need to Be Managed

Another major similarity between the 1918 pandemic and the current pandemic is that both are coming through in waves. This means that businesses will need to have plans in place that help them manage the current wave and also ensure that they have the precautions in place for the next wave if it comes.

The development of the vaccine will help to ensure that the next wave is not as harsh as the current wave. However, the emergence of new strains can mean that the pandemic may be prolonged which means that businesses need to be ready for more waves. The first wave was the hardest for businesses because of a lack of information, but by now businesses know what needs to be done. Any business continuity plan that is being created should account for the fact that the businesses will need to operate differently when a wave is ending and will quickly need to revert to a stricter framework for SOPs if another wave appears to be starting.

The ongoing pandemic is a unique global event for most people living today, but it is important to remember that it is not the first plague the world has faced, and it will likely not be the last. Click To Tweet

The Economy Will Bounce Back

The one major positive thing which every business needs to focus on is that the economy will bounce back. Not only can we expect that economic activity will return to normal, but we can also expect a period of enhanced economic activity all over the world. The years after the 1918 pandemic are known as the roaring 20s because there was an explosion in people going out for entertainment, food, and traveling.

While businesses are lamenting the loss of many revenue streams right now, it is also important to remember that people are also missing going out to do their favorite activities and have been locked inside for too long. This means that whenever the pandemic is under control and everything opens up back again, we can expect everyone to go out and partake in all the economic activities they have missed out on over the past one year. Therefore, it may seem like most damages incurred by businesses have been permanent, the reality is that many businesses will get the opportunity to earn back most of their losses after the pandemic.

Technology Can Make the Difference

While there are many similarities between the two pandemics, there is one major difference which has made the current pandemic more bearable for many types of businesses; that difference is technology. Restaurants that would have had to shutter down can still earned through deliveries from online orders. Most retailers have shifted their focus on E-Commerce activities as well to ensure that their business continues to be able to deliver the goods and services.

Enterprise Risk Management Software

Risk managers also have access to better risk management technology which can allow them to assess the current situation more accurately regarding the pandemic and the steps that the business needs to take in order to thrive and grow. Risk management technology has already entered the mainstream and was slowly being adopted across the business world before the pandemic. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for risk technology implementations because businesses quickly realized that they need better risk management tools if they want to survive through the pandemic.

Interested in seeing how your business can improve its risk management framework and make it more responsive to manage the pandemic easier? Get in touch with our risk management experts for a demonstration of the Predict360 Risk Management Solution. If you want to learn more about how risk management will change in 2021 and the new challenges and opportunities it brings then sign up for our upcoming webinar titled Risk Management Challenges and Opportunities: 2021 Outlook on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 01:00 PM CST.