When natural disaster strikes your organization, it’s important to have a plan. Determine what to do if the business must close for some time. Here is a checklist of items to help you plan for the next severe storm or disaster.
- Choose people to monitor official evacuation and safety information – Having a source of information and chain of communication and decision making is essential, especially when there are only a few hours to prepare.
- Decide who makes the call to close or change scheduling – Keep in mind that employee safety is the most important consideration.
- Give people as much notice of schedule changes as possible – Remember that employees often will need to take care of children and other family members and have preparations to make at their homes. Be understanding when they are not available because they are concerned for the safety of their homes and families.
- Plan for alternate communications channels – With limited power and interrupted internet access, it’s important to advise people how to communicate by text, call for assistance, and to have backup power for cell phones. Consider an emergency phone tree to distribute safety information and essential information.
- Know which employees are affected and update contact information – This may not be obvious, especially if your workforce travels often. Make sure cell phone and emergency contact lists are updated.
- Plan for getting critical work done – Make sure any essential tasks are handled by people or offices that will have power and the ability to perform them, even if it is not their normal job. Train people on what to do and how to do it. Consider whether employees can work remotely.
- Protect Your Data– Make sure you plan for disruptions to critical data systems. Many cloud providers offer disaster recovery services. Also consider a physical back up to a physical drive or tape. Determine how often the data will be backed up in each place and make sure your hardware is working and can handle the job.
- Understand Wage Hour Requirements – The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets out the minimum requirements for paying employees when a business closes during severe weather. Work with legal counsel to make sure you meet these and any state or local requirements. Then decide if your company can offer more.
- Make Sure Employees Get Paid on Time – Making payroll deadlines and helping people get access to their funds is even more important during and following a disaster. Consider alternatives to checks such as direct deposit and payroll cards that can be loaded remotely.
- Check your insurance policies and coverage – Do you have the coverage you need to repair, restore, and replace damaged property and cover your business interruption?
To learn more about how to prepare and manage your business through natural disasters attend our ReImagine Series webinar “Natural Disasters Can Help Drive a “Climate Change” in Your Business Leaves Policies.”
The 30-minute free webcast takes place on November 1, 2017 at 1 p.m. ET. Register here!
You can also read more on this topic in the following articles:
- Severe Weather Policies: Questions and Answers
- Disaster Preparedness: Planning Your Business Recovery
- Code Red: The Critical Role of HR in Workplace Emergency Preparedness
- Crisis Recovery: Be the Quarterback Your Organization Needs