Emergency preparedness is crucial for all businesses and households, but it can be difficult to ensure remote workers are properly prepared to deal with an emergency situation while working from home. With remote work more popular than ever, it’s important to consider the unique ways that emergencies and disasters may affect these employees. Remote work can be uniquely challenging during emergencies, but there are also many strengths associated with building a robust remote team in the wake of a disaster. In many cases, remote work gives employees the freedom and flexibility they need to deal with challenging circumstances.
Employees who work from home should be sure to have a plan to deal with common emergencies and disasters. This can include basic supplies, a survival kit, and potential plans for continuing work from home during and after the emergency. Technology can also help when it comes to emergency preparedness by enabling employees to connect to the internet, access important files and documents, and maintain a clear line of communication.
Remote work during an emergency or disaster will indeed be much different than remote work during normal times — there may be additional challenges and stressors that require different solutions than normal. In the aftermath of a disaster, it’s important to be flexible, understanding, and take your employees’ needs into account.
Electricity is essential for remote workers since it allows them to access the internet and keep their devices charged. It’s a good idea to have a backup source of power in case of emergency, such as a generator. In many cases, you can also purchase spare battery packs for laptops and phones to keep their charge for a little longer. It’s also worth considering different workplace options in case of emergencies, such as a cafe, library, or the home of a friend or family member who still has power. If you lose power in your house for an extended amount of time, you should look into where you can charge your devices and access electricity outside of the home.
Similarly, a reliable, fast internet connection is a necessity in order for remote workers to be able to do their jobs. Emergencies and disasters can disrupt internet connections and make it more difficult to get online. Mobile hotspots can give employees the flexibility to connect to the internet anytime they have cell reception. Many smartphones have mobile hotspot capabilities, although it may require additional charges or fees depending on how much data you use. If you’re worried about staying connected to the internet during an emergency, you may also want to consider discussing connectivity solutions with your employer. They may be able to provide access to a mobile hotspot or suggest other alternatives when it comes to emergency internet access.
Maintaining cybersecurity during and after an emergency is crucial, especially for employees who work from home. In order to ensure that your data is secure, you should consider using a VPN and protected networks, especially if you find yourself having to work at a different location than usual. This can help to protect your data and make you less vulnerable to a security breach.
If you’re concerned about cybersecurity as an employee or business owner, you may also want to consider using an MSP to further enhance your security systems and aid with your business continuity resources.
Access to Information
Remote workers still need to access company information, such as important files or servers, in the event of an emergency. It’s important to periodically test server connections and store the most critical information locally so that it can be easily retrieved in the event of an emergency. Remote workers may want to download important files to their laptops and desktops, for instance, or print out copies of important documents that they may need to reference often.
Your IT support teams or individuals will also need remote access to computers used by your staff. If you are already leveraging telecommuting on your team, it can be invaluable to have remote access software already installed for use by your IT service providers.
Cloud storage can also be of use in this regard, as it allows employees to access important files and documents even when working remotely. Documents stored in the cloud can be accessed even if you’re away from a specific device or location. This makes cloud storage invaluable to remote work, especially during disasters or emergencies that might require alternative living or working situations.
Communication & Support
Communication is crucial when it comes to managing remote teams, regardless of whether or not there’s a disaster or emergency. It’s important that employees get support from their organization when it comes to enabling remote work and weathering a crisis. In order to facilitate this, businesses can take a variety of steps, including utilizing remote monitoring and management software, as well as considering a landline connection as a form of backup communication. Overall, it’s important to be clear about expectations when it comes to work and to communicate effectively in order to provide support to employees during challenging times.
There are a variety of technologies that can facilitate communication when it comes to remote work. Cloud storage can help companies to effectively collaborate at a distance and share important files and documents. Software like Slack and Trello can help to keep employees in the loop and foster a sense of community and camaraderie among remote workers. Skype and Zoom can enable employees to have discussions in real-time.
Remote work during an emergency is much different than remote work during normal times, as employees may be faced with the additional burden of caring for loved ones, experiencing disruptions in their living or family situations, and dealing with the broader repercussions of the emergency or disaster. While it’s normal to feel the urge to get back to business as soon as possible, the reality is that, when an emergency strikes, work cannot always be the first priority. It’s important to be flexible and understanding when it comes to remote work during a crisis and to practice empathy when it comes to employees who may be dealing with issues outside the sphere of work.