Is Your Company Prepared for an Emergency?
Working remotely has become very popular in recent years
Many businesses allow employees to work remotely once or twice a week. Many businesses require everyone to be in the same location working together for specific reasons. A business that does not normally find it conducive to have people work remotely, should have an emergency plan in place for an unexpected event that makes it necessary.
We recently experienced this first hand — there was a storm in our area that was unexpected
Trees were hit by lightning and split, some were uprooted, branches snapped, and windows broken and blown out. Streets were blocked by fallen trees and branches and traffic lights were out, causing it to be difficult to get around. The building where our office is located in was hit hard. Windows were blown out, flooding the inside of many offices and the first floor had furniture overturned. The electricity was out and the building became dangerous to occupy, with broken glass in many offices. We fund businesses through invoice factoring, and our clients need to be funded weekly. We were lucky, only one office in our suite was destroyed, and it was on Sunday, which resulted in no one being injured. The office next to us was completely under water and all windows blown out, damaging equipment and files.
We had previously taken some time to come up with a plan for an emergency such as this, and, immediately put it into action
Everyone was familiar with the plan and we made some calls and everyone came together to assist in the emergency. We made arrangements to move to the location we had set up in advance. We took computers, servers, printers, files, banking necessities and everything we needed to make it easier to serve our clients doing business as usual. We transferred our phones to our remote office so we could answer calls and continue business as normal as possible. The move took place within about two hours. on Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning we were ready to go. We sent emails to our clients explaining our situation and updated them as the week progressed. We learned the importance of our emergency plan, which in the 40 years we have been in business, we had never had to implement. Our entire staff worked together patiently and as a team to make it a successful week, which would not have been the case had we not been prepared.
Emergency planning is important and following are some things to consider:
- Insurance –your office and equipment should be covered by insurance.
- The ability to move computers, servers and files and/or have laptops for employees.
- Have software available on the cloud, as well as client information.
- Keep a hard copy list of clients and contacts that can be easily reached.
- Have a location that is easily accessible and has wireless connections and phone capabilities. A good option is an office suite. They are usually furnished and have copiers and other office machines available.
- Have emergency numbers for employees so you can let them know about the situation if they are not at work on that day.
Prepare your business for emergencies by holding a meeting with your management staff
Consider all of the things that keep your business running smoothly, and list what is necessary on a daily basis. Consider documents such as client lists and employee lists that you may need to access quickly. Make copies or put these on flash drives and take them home with you so that you can access them if necessary. Have a plan to contact your employees and customers in the event of an emergency.
Management should hold a meeting and go over Disaster Recovery Plans usually provided by your office building management. It is a good idea to create your own Emergency Protocol and Disaster Recovery Plan and have both in writing in a binder easy to reach. Each employee should also be familiar with these plans. In the event of an emergency or disaster, it is important that everyone works together for a common goal. Knowledge is the key to everyone being able to do their job effectively and in a safe location.
Plans should include protecting office equipment, computers, servers, and items of importance when there is impending inclement weather that poses a threat. Protecting equipment and files can be as simple as purchasing heavy-duty bins with lids that can protect things temporarily or for an extended period, and are easy to move if necessary. Office equipment should be unplugged and, if possible, moved to a safe (interior) place in the office when inclement, damaging weather is possible.
Depending on your business, there may be other considerations. It is important to take the time to put a plan in place. Hopefully, you will never need it, but in the event you do, you will be prepared and can continue business as usual without too much interruption or disruption.