Somewhere in the world is always at risk for extreme weather events. The Southern States and plains regions are at risk of tornadoes from February into June, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, and the winter is as unpredictable as anything in a lot of the US of late. You can prepare yourself and your business for extreme weather to avoid losses due to power outages, flooding, and other building damage. Follow these tips to make sure that you’re set when an emergency hits.
Make a Plan
Extreme weather can hit at any time. If you have warning for a hurricane or blizzard, it makes it easier to plan ahead. However, something like a tornado could potentially hit without much warning. Make sure that you have an emergency plan in place for your business. This makes it easier for employees should something happen during regular operating hours. You can put this plan in an emergency binder or put it on the wall in the break room so it’s easily accessible.
Plan for Power Failure
It doesn’t take much more than high wind to knock out power in some places. This could leave you without power for several days. Know what you’re going to do in the case of a power outage so that you can either continue operations or properly close up shop.
If you don’t have one, consider getting a generator. You can talk with local companies about generator rental if you’re entering a season of severe weather. This way, you’re already prepared in a situation where you might need it.
Stock Up on Essentials
While not ideal, sometimes staying at the office is the safer alternative to driving or walking home. Should you or your employees be stuck at the office during a blizzard or severe storm, you’re going to want to have items like flashlights, first-aid kits, food, drinking water, and other essential items. Even if you’re stranded in the office overnight, it’s better to be prepared for the long haul than be stuck without food or running water.
The standards for storing information differ among various industries. No matter if you’re required to maintain paper records or have an external server to hold information, you need to make sure it’s protected. If you have digital storage, ensure that the hard drive is safe from external risks like water damage or even falling debris. Cloud-based storage services are an excellent way to protect vital information.
Many companies have years worth of information stored in cardboard boxes in shelving in the back or in a storage unit offsite. Know how you’re going to keep this information safe should extreme weather hit and the area you store these items is at risk.
Create a Call Tree
It’s important to keep track of your employees and their well-being. They’re your most important assets and you should have a system in place to make sure everyone is OK. If your company is more than just a few people strong, create a call tree that trickles down to ensure that everyone is monitored. Call your supervisors, who call their subordinates, and so on. Have everyone report back to the person above them on the tree so you can get a full report of the status of each person.
Establish Standards for Telecommuting and Working From Home
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that many jobs can be done from home. However, working from home and telecommuting may also come at a cost of productivity. With family members at home and improvised workstations, it’s easy for your employees to get distracted from the work that they typically get done in the office.
Make sure that your employees have a strong understanding of what they need to do to monitor their work and how often they should be checking in with a direct supervisor. Ensure that employees are also properly logging time if there’s not a way to clock in remotely.
Coordinate Backup Suppliers
Extreme weather doesn’t have to hit your immediate area for your business to be affected by it. You can run a business in California that gets product shipped from New York, but snow in the midwest could slow shipments and delay order fulfillment. Have an arrangement with a backup supplier so you can continue to manage your inventory and continue to serve your customers.
Know How to Pay Employees
Even if you have many employees who use direct deposit to get paid, there could be some employees who get a physical check for each pay cycle. Assemble a plan so that employees know how they’re going to get their next paycheck if the office is closed down for an extended period of time.