How to Prepare Your Office for a Natural Disaster

Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, flood, or earthquake, natural disasters can strike at any time and with very little warning. Though many people worry about and prepare for the effect these events can have on their homes and personal lives, very few business owners put the necessary thought and preparation into dealing with the effects these disasters can have on their businesses. Even smaller-scale disasters like large winter storms can have a major impact on your business, so it’s important that you are prepared to deal with these situations.

Here are a few tips for preparing your office for a natural disaster that could otherwise put your company out of business for good.

 

storm

Know Disasters Common for Your Area

Each area of the country is prone to different types of disasters. While the Gulf Coast may have to worry about hurricanes, the Midwest must worry about tornadoes and the West Coast worries about earthquakes. Know what natural disasters your area may be prone to so that you can prepare properly. At the very least, you should be prepared for an office fire that could close down your business.

disaster plan

Define Employees’ Disaster Roles

If and when disaster strikes, who will be in charge? Where should people look for guidance in such a situation? You need to clearly define each employee’s role in the event of a natural disaster so that there is a clear chain of command. Ideally, you should have an emergency preparedness committee who will take charge if such a situation arises. You should also find out what employees are already trained and certified in first aid and CPR. You will want 10% to 15% of your employees to be trained in this so that they can render aid wherever it is needed during a disaster situation; also ensure that other employees are able to quickly and easily identify who the certified employees are.

gate

Identify Policies If Business Must Close

While the safety of your employees should obviously be the first priority in a disaster situation, you also need to worry about the finer points of running a business during these events. It is always a good idea to identify what your company’s policies will be if the business must close for more than a few days. Will payroll be processed? Will employees be required to use sick days or personal leave? How will you communicate with your clients and vendors regarding your business’s closure? Figure out what you want your policies to be and ensure employees know what they are in case a disaster arises.

emergency prep

Stockpile Some Emergency Supplies

Sometimes in a disaster situation, employees find themselves stuck in the office until the danger outside has passed. This may leave your employees stranded in your building for several days, in some cases. For these sorts of events, it is a good idea to have a small stockpile of emergency supplies. Make sure you have extra first aid kits and other medical supplies, as well as personal hygiene products like feminine products, sanitary wipes, and perhaps even some toothbrushes. Having a few jugs of water and some nonperishable food items is also wise, in case you have many people who are stuck in your office for a few days.

man in umbrella

Plan How to Get Back to Work

Eventually, the disaster is going to pass, and then you need to worry about getting your business up and running again. Unfortunately, many times these disasters can leave your office in shambles; even with the danger past, it may be impossible for your employees to return to work. So what will your backup plan be? You should define the most essential functions of your business and focus first on getting those functions back as quickly as possible. Identify what tasks can be done remotely and what information and documents you need to get those tasks done. Make sure employees have the supplies they need to work from home. Having the right equipment and software to make this possible will let your business get up and running more quickly.

disaster recovery plan

Develop a BCP and Make Sure People Know It

Finally, you need to develop a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that includes your detailed plans, policies, and procedures for dealing with a natural disaster. All of the points outlined previously should be included, and the plan should be made available to every employee in your company. Select personnel to develop this plan, and make sure it is thorough and detailed, addressing every possible disaster that could strike your business. Having this ready and available will ensure everyone knows what to do if such an event should arise.

sign saying are you ready

Conclusion

Ensuring your company is prepared for a natural disaster can make the difference between being able to continue doing business after disaster strikes, and having to close your doors for good. If you want your business to survive a disaster, then you need to have the right plans and tools in place to ensure that your employees are safe and your business is prepared to rebound after the events occur. For information about how document management software like eFileCabinet can make your business more disaster-resistant, fill out the form on this page.

By | 2017-06-05T17:00:51+00:00 March 17th, 2016|
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