To learn about the strategies and experiences of businesses managing this double threat, researchers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), surveyed small and medium-sized enterprises across the US. In a new report of survey results, nearly a quarter of businesses felt natural disaster preparations helped them address COVID-19. They tended to find preparations of broad applicability during natural disasters, such as telework readiness, more useful than hazard-specific measures. The survey also identified areas of hardship for businesses, including uncertainty and a lack of guidance and resources.
The NIST and NOAA researchers conducted the survey from July 8 to Aug. 8, reaching businesses with fewer than 10 to more than 100 employees from a wide array of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and retail. With help from other entities, such as the Minority Business Development Agency and the Small Business Administration, the authors obtained more than 1,300 responses.
In the survey, the team asked businesses about challenges presented by COVID-19 and measures taken to manage them. The researchers also inquired about experiences with sudden, high-impact disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires, as well as longer-lasting, slower-onset events, including droughts and winter storms.
The resulting publication of the survey results is titled Complex Event Resilience of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Natural Disaster Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic and can be found here.