Natural disasters like storms are unfortunately unavoidable. Climate change is making our weather more unpredictable and more extreme, so preparing protections against damaging weather to keep your business operating is a sensible precaution for a modern company. Where once the whole community would grind to a halt, nowadays, thanks to modern technology and safety features, most businesses can carry on, at least partially, whatever the weather.
Being able to work through a storm can help you to reduce losses to your business and maintain customer relationships. Even if you don’t work through the storm as it is too dangerous, putting measures in place to protect your business and everything it entails will mean that you can limit the damage done and get moving forward again as quickly as possible.
Here are some tips to help keep your office running, whatever the weather might throw at you.
Have a Storm Plan
It can be hard to plan for specific disasters, but you can make a general storm plan, knowing that they are likely to happen one day. If you have certain weather patterns which occur in your area, then you should prepare specifics for these. Having multiple storm plans in place might be the most sensible option, but you should always include any repetitive information so that there is no need to hunt for the information in multiple locations.
Remember, too, that you should have all contact information for managers, owners, heads of departments, etc., available in a handy-to-grab plan – weather can change unpredictably, and everyone should be able to reach for a document that contains everything needed. A step-by-step process to follow on the first page would be especially helpful.
1. Building Safety
The first thing that you need to consider is building safety. Conduct regular risk assessments, make sure your building is in good condition, make repairs and improvements quickly, and keep your insurance policy up to date.
2. Backup Power
One of the first things to go in a storm is often mains power, and even a short outage can affect your ability to work. A backup generator is a worthwhile investment. You should make sure that all of your staff know where they will be safe if they are caught unexpectedly at work. There should also be clear procedures to follow to allow staff to leave in emergencies.
3. Cloud-Based Systems
Saving work to the cloud, and using things like cloud-based email, means that you and your team can work in and out of the office without having to make any big adjustments. If you aren’t already using cloud-based systems, you could find it makes life much easier. This will mean that if poor weather is approaching, you can alert employees that everyone will be working from home until it passes and switch easily between the two.
4. The Morning After
As soon as the storm is over, you should take time to assess any damage to your site. You should call your insurance company and make a plan to get back to normal (while keeping everyone safe) as soon as you can. Developing a morning-after plan can help you to get back up and running as quickly as possible without having to make a plan on the day. You should also have a system in place to go over your plans and procedures and assess what worked and what needed improvement. You may find that you need help from professional services, so you should take the time to find ones that can get you up and running again, such as a company like https://ncricat.com/services/disaster-services-storm-damage/.
Know What to Expect
If there’s a storm coming, make sure you are keeping an eye on the forecast as it gets closer and putting plans in place as quickly as you can.
Keep Some Work from Home Practices
Over the last few years, most offices have worked from home, at least some of the time. Even if you are back in the office full-time now, it’s great to keep some staff working more flexibly, at least some of the time. This way, if something unexpected comes up, you already have people outside of the office with comfortable home offices. Having everything fully backed up and available on the cloud or in other ways means that it should be seamless working between home and the office. Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to tell where a person is working purely based on their interactions at work.
Avoid Taking Risks
The last thing that you want in a storm is to try to carry on as usual and end up putting people at risk. If you are worried, give your team plenty of notice so that they aren’t risking travel in bad weather. You should close and let your employees go home as soon as you can so that they reach their homes safely, preferably with enough time to collect family members or stock up on supplies.
Check-in with Your Team
Good communication is the best way to keep everyone safe, keep morale up, and keep your business running. Make sure you update your team as soon as you start putting your storm plan in place and check in with them to make sure they are safe and know what they need to do. You should also let employees know what they should do if lines of communication break down – in extended periods of power outages, for instance. Although you might not have information for them immediately, keeping in contact by providing information on the next stages of the process or what information you are waiting for can make them feel more relaxed and in the loop – rather than on edge and waiting to hear.
Storms and other natural disasters are part of life, and if anything, are becoming more common. The good news is modern communication methods, cloud computing, and work-from-home practices mean that your business doesn’t need to face extended downtime even in the worst weather. Putting storm plans in place can help to keep your employees safe, which in turn will highlight that you are a good company to work for. Having policies in place so that everyone knows how they can continue working from home and in what circumstances that is encouraged can be very beneficial for everyone.