Being prepared for the unknown allows you to have peace of mind for your business. I am reminded of the story about a young man who was looking for a job as a farmhand. When asked about his qualifications from the older farmer, the man said that he could sleep when the wind was blowing.
During a big wind storm one winter night, the farmer tried to wake the young man and couldn’t. With a mental reminder to fire him the next morning, the farmer went out and found that the tarps were over the hay. The animals were locked in the pens and all the barn doors were shut and locked. It was then he realized that the young man had prepared for a storm … and could sleep knowing he was ready for the unexpected.
We have been inundated over the past few weeks on news about the Coronavirus (more scientifically COVID-19). Instead of building a bunker and hoarding supplies, there are some proactive things we can do right now to prepare ourselves, which are also good steps to take as everyday business practices. I have written about some of them previously and will provide links to those blog articles.
Here are some of my suggestions:
Have an emergency or disaster plan.
Be able to work remotely.
Take the temperature of your team.
Clean up and backup.
Have an Emergency or Disaster Plan
Imagine that one of your team members tests positive for the COVID-19 virus. The health department says it needs to quarantine everyone in your business for the next 14 days--what happens to your business? Make sure you have a plan and over the next few months work with your team to put in place it.
Be Able to Work Remotely
Working remotely should be part of your emergency plan. Moving a lot of your functions to the cloud and using Microsoft Office 365 allow your employees to access critical business and productivity software from anywhere. If you don't currently offer remote work, consider these advantages. 1) Remote options could be a perk that gives you an edge over competitors vying for talent in your industry. 2) Many people are more productive working in a remote office. Providing a laptop and an upgraded bandwidth is a small price to pay for retention and productivity.
Take the Temperature of Your Team
No, I am not asking you to whip out your digital thermometer to see if they have the latest virus. I recommend getting feedback from your employees on their concerns and capabilities. Who might care for family members that pathogens from the office could affect? Understanding these issues early allows us to expand our workflow by testing some remote work time. So when an emergency happens, the process will be vetted and the work experience will be better. We have safety meetings to make sure our team is not hurt on the job. In a similar way, it is important to have a psychologically safe environment where concerns are heard.
Clean up and Backup
With the COVID-19, we are reminded to keep our hands clean and wipe down everything at the office. While we practice hygiene to keep our offices clean, it is also important to keep our computer network clean. We recommend installing good anti-virus software and training your staff to identify phishing attacks. Adept offers security training that can keep your team up-to-date with the latest awareness education. Good office hygiene will keep your organization healthier. Good technical hygiene will keep your business running.
Security plans are essential, but they are not infallible. You must protect your business with backup solutions. March 31st is World Backup Day. Make sure your data is backed up in at least two places (on-site and in the cloud) so you can handle any emergency.
I hope we will take the time to prepare for the inevitable emergencies in our future.