In the past few months, the United States has witnessed a spate of natural disasters. Along with Hurricane Irma, Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005, is reported to have caused damages worth $200 billion on the local economy. The tiny economy of Puerto Rico has been staring at a $95 billion loss after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island in September this year.
These are not isolated incidents. Business losses owing to floods, fire, hurricane and earthquakes are only going to increase as people migrate away from the country side to cities. As a small business owner, the losses from such disasters can be quite painful.
Shielding your business from such disasters is not realistic. The need of the hour is to be take precautions that will help you in minimizing losses and hasten recovery.
Material damage in the form of flooded workspaces or lost documents can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair and restoration. But that is only one way disasters can wreck your business. A disaster halfway across the world can impact your business in the form of stranded shipments, which can hurt your revenue.
As a business owner, you are liable to pay your employees even if your establishment is temporarily shut down for restoration. These are interruptions that can quickly bankrupt your organization. Most basic insurance plans do not cover business interruption, which is considered an add-on. It is a wise idea to sit down with your insurance agent to understand your coverage. Disasters strike unannounced and it is imperative that you are prepared sufficiently to take the impact of these.
Migrate To the Cloud
The aftermath of a disaster can be a testing period when you get your business back to normalcy. This can prove to be difficult if you have lost your office equipment like computers and cabinets to fire or flood.
Recovering lost contracts can takes weeks, if not months, and all of this brings your business productivity down. However, these challenges can be easily overcome if your documents are stored in the cloud.
Cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive have exhaustive redundancies in place that ensure that your documents do not get lost whatsoever. With cloud storage, recovering your documents after a flood or fire is as simple as logging in to your cloud account.
Emergency Supplies & Mock Drills
As a business owner, you are responsible for the safety and security of your employees. Hire a disaster consultant to assist you in organizing mock drills inside your workplace. This helps you in training your workers to act in the event of a disaster. Organizing such mock drills can also help you in identifying the tools and equipment that you will need to stock up on in the case of a disaster. Supplies that you will commonly need include first aid kits, batteries, flashlights and two-way radios.
Establish a telecommuting
Some studies claim that telecommuting improves worker productivity and is thus necessary for the modern workplace. At the same time, companies like IBM, who were once regarded as proponents of the work-from-home policy, are now asking more and more of their employees to get back to offices.
Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, a telecommuting policy comes in handy during emergency situations. Recovery and restoration of damaged workplaces can take several weeks and the impact due to such business interruption can be minimized if your employees are able to log into work from their homes.
Audit your workplace for its telecommuter-friendliness and deploy necessary measures so that your employees may log into work even when your workplace is under restoration.
Disasters can impact business operations no matter how well-prepared you are. But taking the precautions above should make it possible for businesses to quickly spring back into operations. This is the only way to survive a disaster and minimize losses.