In a post-COVID landscape, millions of business owners all over the world are finding out how damaging a natural disaster can be for their profitability. Hurricanes, droughts, and other forms of destruction can leave high costs in damage behind them. It’s business owners who pay for much of the repair, which can be detrimental. Natural disasters are becoming increasingly common. Damages have been growing by billions every year, so every business needs a solid emergency operations plan.
Create a Plan to Protect Your Assets
A contingency plan helps you to minimize the effects of a disaster ahead of time. Insurance coverage reviews are an excellent place to start, so this is the time to meet with your insurance adviser. They’ll help you to create a risk assessment of all identified hazards. An inventory of your assets will guide your insurance choices, but you also need a more practical strategy for the days following a disaster.
Plan a Remote Workforce
During the pandemic, millions of businesses have turned to remote workforces to overcome new challenges. This option lets you operate from anywhere in the world, even if your property is inaccessible. It makes sense to prepare the tools you need to manage a remote team in advance. Remote work software, cloud infrastructures, and virtual meeting spaces are key to remote success. How will you stay in touch with staff? What tools will they use to work remotely? How will your leadership structure change? Most importantly, will all of those solutions earn the revenue you need to stay afloat? Speak to your IT team about all of those questions so that your team can get back to work as soon as possible.
Build a Strategy for Staying Profitable
An extreme event could change the way you think about leadership and delegation. Your business structure might need to change, and this restructuring should be planned long before disaster strikes. This is the time to think about how you’ll stay operational if your office space and computing infrastructure are inaccessible. Your leadership will no longer be able to “walk the floor,” so compliance will need a new foundation. Productivity is particularly important, so enlist the advice of your HR team at this stage of your disaster planning.
Create a Safety Plan to Protect Employees
Protection of human lives is your number one directive in any disaster, even if it happens on digital “soil.” Every business should have a strategy in place to protect staff if disaster strikes. Every state has its own unique risks, so tailor your evacuations and drills toward the disasters you’re most likely to face. An emergency response plan should include:
- First aid training and equipment
- A risk assessment that identifies the most likely disaster events in your region
- Shelter-in-place structures
- Lockdown criteria and strategies
- Warning signals and alert radios
- Exit routes
- Emergency kits
Tailor your Supply Chain and Contractual Obligations
Your legal obligations rarely melt away due to a disaster, so it’s crucial to develop a supply chain strategy. You can certainly insure some of these potential contractual losses, but ideally, your business will be disrupted as little as possible. This is the time to build a more flexible supply chain that functions around the clock.
The 2012 U.S. drought cost over $34 billion in losses. That’s a heavy weight to bear, particularly when you’re a small- to medium-sized business. With a solid contingency plan in place, though, you can save your business from bankruptcy. You might even save a few lives in the process.