How to Handle Hurricane Season
When disaster strikes do your employees know what to do? ConnectWise offers these tips on how to prepare your entire team and keep your business running.
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A slightly above-average Atlantic hurricane season is likely in 2018, according to the hurricane forecasting team from Colorado State University (CSU) in their latest seasonal forecast issued April 5. Do you have an action plan in place in case the worst occurs?
Your home systems business can be affected in more ways than one, so it’s best to prepare your team before disaster strikes. They’ll know how to react, respond, and keep the business up and running, all while staying safe and secure even when the toughest of storms hit.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., ConnectWise understands what it’s like to run a successful business in hurricane country. Through experience, they offer home systems integrators tips on dealing with damaging hurricanes.
Don’t wait until the last minute to put an action plan in place. Do it now so you’ll be able to react confidently instead of being caught off guard, which leads to panic and poor decision making.
Create a checklist well in advance, identify and mobilize your mission-critical team (see Step 3), and have business continuity plans in place. Your checklist should include steps to follow for every scenario, including the worst case and a full evacuation. Your end goal is to remain operational regardless of what plays out.
Should a hurricane develop, take the time to monitor its progress and alter your plans if necessary.
Perform a Dry Run … Often
Make sure that the plan that’s been formulated can be effectively executed. Sure, practicing under pleasant conditions will be much different than during an actual hurricane, but at least you’ll be able to identify areas that may need some fine-tuning. Give each employee a checklist during your practice runs and make sure they follow it to a tee.
Afterwards, open the floor to questions and concerns, and be sure everyone feels comfortable with their assigned tasks. Continue to refine your blueprint until your team can pull it off confidently and without a hitch. And as always, have a backup blueprint ready in case something changes on your team, including people leaving or joining the business.
Form a Mission-Critical Team
Identify 10-15 people inside the company who are willing to handle the responsibility of making decisions and delegating responsibilities. If possible, your team should include employees you can all on in other areas that may not be impacted by the storm. Make sure that each mission critical team member understands clearly his or her role in the days leading up to a potential disaster. T
his team should all have the same goal: Keep the business operational without putting themselves or their colleagues in unnecessary danger.
Communication is the key to any successful business, and this applies in spades when times get tough. As a storm develops, make sure to feed updates regularly to your team throughout the day. This enables your employees to get mentally prepared to handle their tasks and gives them time to process the situation.
In order to keep the lines of communication open, be sure to obtain a phone number, email addresses and every bit of contact information available for each employee. This way, if someone loses access to their phone, for example, there are other ways to reach them.
Use all form of communication to cover your bases: phone, text, email, social media, crisis hotlines, and notifications on your support page.
Take it to The Cloud
Information is power and your company’s most valuable asset. Protect all the hard work you and your employees have done—designs, layouts, spec sheets, proposals, etc.—by storing it in the cloud. This way, when a storm hits, your team can pick up their belongings and laptops and leave, and your company will still be fully operational inside or outside of the building.
If you want more information on how to develop disaster protocol checklists, ConnectWise can help you weather the storm.
Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
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