BUSINESS DISASTER READY
A tornado, flood or fire can be just as devastating to your business as to your home. But there are things that you can do to prepare for a possible disaster and to help get you business back up and running quickly after a disaster.
To help protect your business:
- Identify what you need to protect. If you run a food service and loose power for 24 hours, you can loose $50,000 to food spoilage. Look into back-up power supplies and make sure any possible damage is covered in your insurance policy.
- Develop a specific disaster plan. Map out who will do what if some sort of disaster occurs. Who will be in charge of evacuation or of making certain that important documents and data are safe. Designate a meeting spot outside of your business. Share the plan with your employees and keep it up to date.
- Get your insurance in order. This means more than just knowing where your policy happens to be located.
- Consider cash. Even solid insurance coverage will have deductables. If you can, earmark some cash to pay those and other expenses. If that's not in the cards, open up a line of credit with your bank for a ready money source.
- Buddy up. The most amenable landlord on earth can do little about office space that's been reduced to ruins or is under water. A non-competitor may be willing to offer a conference room or any available space to help you out. By the same token, if they're the ones taking the hit, make your space available to them .
To get you back on your feet:
- Assess the damage realistically. Tis may seem rather obvious but many businessess make the mistake of sugar coating whatever damage may have occurred. Don't make the same mistake. As soon as you can, look things over and take a hard view at how long it iwll take for your operation to regain its bearings.
- Move as quickly as possible. Physical damage is one thing. The emothional trauma of disaster is often just as crippling. The longer it takes a business to recover, the more quickly damage can fester. Begin cleanup as soon as possible.
- Get involved. Nothing may be more alienating to employees than a leader who directs disaster recovery from afar. Get in and get your hands dirty. That can prove a powerful morale booster, no matter how unpleasant the task.
- Stay in touch. One of the most problematic elements of picking up the post disaster pieces is keeping the line of communication open. Bend your efforts to that end. Be certain that you cover as many bases as possible.
- Help others. Helping isn't only the right thing to do but it can be good for business in the long run.
THE WORKPLACE AFTER A DISASTER
It would appear that the workplace is the one part of life that could offer the survivor of a natural disaster a sense of normalcy. Same co-workers, same work, same surroundings. But mental health experts say there are tremendous pressures that interfere at the work-site. It can start with the physical location itself, since many businesses have to be relocated to other quarters. If some employees have left the area since the disaster, the work volume or content itself may change. This change can cause stress. Ironically, at a time when more effort at work is needed, the employee may get bogged down in recovery of a personal nature as well as the business. Employees may have to make more phone calls during the workday to take care of personal matters relating to the disaster. Employers may be asked by employees for more time off. Some employees use all their vacation and sick time to oversee restoraton of their homes. Employers find their patience stretched. Employees sometimes feel guilty because of now spending more time working and commuting and worry that they have little or no time left for their families.
These stresses may lead to some employees leaving their job to find a new one. Experts say this is not necessarily a good idea, since even a new job can cause stress. Things would go from bad to worse.
THINGS YOU CAN DO:
- Make the most of such free time as coffee breaks on the job.
- Eat lunch away from work at a park or the beach. Seek a peaceful enviornment.
- Pay attention to communication skills. When problems arise, don't threaten; use "I" messages, such as "I'm concerned that I have too much work to do and I'm not going to be able to do it."
- When you feel tense or angry, perform a stress releasing exercise - inhale through the nose and life your arms up, tightening your hands into fists and bring both arms to your shoulders, bending your elbows. Then exhale through the mouth as ou stretch out your arms and unclench your fists.