Just over one month into hurricane season and Elsa, the year's first before being downgraded to a tropical storm ahead of making landfall in Florida on Wednesday, is now blazing up the East Coast en route toward Massachusetts.
The wrath of natural disasters can linger long after their initial impact. Yet the problem may be even more acute for the businesses that operate with a remote or hybrid staff. With so many employees scattered about, you can anticipate greater exposure to natural disasters. And everything from planning for unstable remote access to the internet to maintaining electricity amid hazardous weather conditions are challenges businesses should prepare for today.
Here are four tips for companies facing inclement weather with a distributed team:
1. Plan for shifting priorities.
Create clear instructions and easily accessible resources for employees in case you need to shift important activities or distribute workloads from employees in affected areas to those who remain unaffected.
2. Know where your employees are.
Keep an up-to-date list, noting each employee's physical location and monitor that expanded footprint for storms. Include any high-risk areas nearby any remote workers.
3. Provide key resources.
Distribute mobile hot spots or portable generators, suggests Risk Management magazine, a publication from advocacy group the Risk Management Society. Doing so will help employees remain working even in impacted areas where internet and electricity may be unstable. You might also offer individual or family natural disaster readiness classes and personal supplies. That could reduce your employees' stress, and ensure there's little to no downtime for your business's operations in case of an emergency.
4. Help employees back up vital company documents.
It has long been suggested that businesses electronically back up all paper documents, including bank statements and tax records. They should also consider backing up their electronic documents to a duplicate server or to the cloud. Given that your employees may have been working remotely for over a year, it will be important to ensure they back up vital documents on their end as well.