September 1, 2018

Benefits of Remote Employees During a Crisis

The month of September is National Preparedness Month, and while you’ll probably see a ton of blogs and articles about having an emergency plan, and how to manage your business when disaster strikes, we thought we’d take a positive spin, and discuss how your remote employees can keep your business afloat during a disaster or emergency.

There really is no telling when disaster will strike, and it doesn’t have to be weather related – for example, fires happen every day due to human error or by accident. Having proper measures in place to keep your employees safe is always the top priority but getting your business back on track after a disruption is the main objective.

How to keep your business running remotely:

  1. Back up to the cloud. Having a server physically located on site may seem like it makes sense from a privacy standpoint, but if disaster strikes, all your data could be wiped out. Consider backing up your files to the cloud. It’s cheap, easy to access from anywhere in the world, secure, and won’t be compromised should disaster strike.
  2. Remote access. If you don’t currently have remote employees, it may make sense to provide access outside of the office to key employees. You may find that employee engagement and output increases if employees can work remotely, especially on a day when they aren’t feeling 100%, but would otherwise take a sick day. Giving employees the ability to work from home means that if your physical office becomes a victim of mother nature, your employees can keep your business running and communicate with your clients.
  3. Online software. Using web-based software has become the norm over the past decade. Using CRM’s and ERP’s that have switched to a cloud platform, like Salesforce and JD Edwards, etc. allow your employees to be able to access information no matter where they are. If they have their username and password, they can log in, and keep business as usual.
  4. Communication tools. When phone lines may be down, but access to the internet is still available, being able to reach company employees via tools like Skype or Slack can make a huge difference. In times of disaster, cell phone signals are jammed with people trying to make calls, to the point where even if you have service, your calls cannot go through. If you still have internet, and most tools have apps you can download on to your phone, you can still reach employees or customers who are vital to your business.
  5. Ample prep time. When prepping for a known disaster, remote workers have greater flexibility. They can prepare much sooner in the event of a disaster without causing the same level of disruption to business operations. You don’t have to worry about when to close the office, so people can get home safe. In a completely remote office, companies can focus on making sure each of their workers is safe and secure, providing options and more funds to assist in keeping everyone up and running instead of focusing on potential damage to the brick and mortar structure.
  6. You value your staff. When you give your employees the opportunity to work remotely during an emergency or disaster, they can focus on their family first. In the aftermath when schools or daycare may still be closed, allowing employees to work remotely allows them to stress less about lost wages while still making sure the family is safe.
  7. Recovering quickly. As power is restored or areas become safe to travel in again, employees can choose spaces to work that provide what they need – if not available at home. They don’t need to wait until an office is restored or repaired. The recovery process after natural disasters happens in waves, leaving some areas more impacted than others.

There’s no foolproof way to be 100% prepared for a disaster – no matter what type. But having peace of mind that your business won’t fall victim to the aftermath can give you sound peace of mind and allow you to focus on making sure you, your family, and your employees are safe. Giving your staff access and the ability to work remote not only boosts morale but can keep your business afloat during a crisis.

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About Kaitlin Zak
VP of Business Development Licensed REALTOR and Property & Casualty Insurance Agent

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