The pandemic goes endemic: Learning the lessons, boosting preparedness, building resilience

  • EMEA
  • Security Risk Management
  • Organisational Resilience

The pandemic goes endemic: Learning the lessons, boosting preparedness, building resilience

Since the removal of the majority of UK Covid 19 restrictions in July 2021, employees have started to physically return to their work places and business travel has gradually increased. Covid-19 might not have gone away, but societies had been learning to live with the virus. The pandemic is becoming endemic.

Yet, new developments such as the discovery of the Omicron variant of the virus threaten to undo much of the post-pandemic recovery. The responses we have seen to this variant reveal how fragile societies now are, and also how different the national responses to the virus and its variants have been. More and more governments are considering making vaccination compulsory, at least for certain groups of people such as health workers, and international travel is increasingly reliant on proof of vaccination.

The pandemic continues to affect regions of the world at different rates and in a variety of ways, depending on seasonality and the success of in-country responses, including vaccination programmes. Organisations will need to continue to focus on their duty of care for their people who travel, whilst also considering the longer-term implications of business travel in relation to climate change. Organisations need to promote a culture where travel-related risk is taken seriously, as employers address a growing list of common challenges that now include issues such as whether or not to mandate the vaccine and caring for the health and well-being of staff. 

Significant challenges continue to exist within the operating environment, and organisations must remain both alert and focused on resilience. For instance, ongoing supply chain issues in the UK, caused by a combination of Brexit and the pandemic, are putting additional pressure on economic recovery and leaving many sectors with a range of different challenges across their value chains. Finally, the pandemic has caused a significant shift in working patterns, which is here to stay. How this is managed in the long term will have a real impact on an organisation’s ability to recruit and retain talent.

In this report, based on a survey of 118 Airmic members conducted from 1 to 27 November 2021, Airmic and Control Risks revisit the issues surrounding pandemic crisis management for organisations that were last discussed in September 2020 in the guide New challenges, new lessons: Covid-19 pandemic and the future of crisis management. This latest report makes the case for risk professionals and their organisations to learn the lessons, boost preparedness and build resilience, in order to steer through the cyclical nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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