Extreme weather events, including hurricanes, floods, and blizzards, have become increasingly common across the planet. Global warming and climate change are further escalating the frequency of such incidents.
Needless to say, these natural disasters cause widespread loss of lives and property damage. Also, they pose a series of safety and operational challenges for business organizations.
Inclement weather conditions, such as thunderstorms and heavy rainfall, often restrict access to key systems and data. That, in turn, will disrupt business operations, supply chains, and product development lifecycles, as well as result in financial losses.
Not having access to internet connectivity and communications tools could also take a toll on customer experience and satisfaction. Moreover, such weather conditions could jeopardize the safety of your employees.
That’s why it is important to take the right steps to make the office resistant to severe weather. In this blog, we’ve outlined a few tips to help you prepare your workplace to better deal with extreme weather events. Let’s take a look.
1. Define a Power Outage Plan
An office-wide power outage is one of the most common consequences of severe weather conditions. Whether you’re running a small startup, a brick-and-mortar store, or a large corporation, an uninterrupted power supply is necessary for running your business.
It’s only when you lose access to the electricity supply that you realize how crucial it is for running your business. In fact, businesses lose nearly $30 billion because of power outages every year.
Apart from disrupting business operations and diminishing revenue, a power outage could also result in accidents, injuries, and panic at the workplace.
That’s why you must read more about ways to deal with a power outage at the workplace. Start by installing a high-quality generator that provides reliable power backup in the event of an outage.
Also, audit your business and understand how crucial electricity is for different operations. Devise suitable steps to continue these operations even without the regular electricity supply. Similarly, figure out ways to connect with your employees and customers when a power outage renders your go-to communication systems non-functional.
2. Outline an Emergency Response Plan
Dealing with a power outage is just one of the several aspects of preparing for inclement weather. You also need to create an emergency response plan that defines the precise steps every employee should take to protect themselves during an extreme weather event.
From evacuation routes and nearest exits to safe assembly points and emergency phone numbers – make sure your emergency response plan outlines all these details. Also, assign specific roles and responsibilities to individual employees. Make sure each person knows who to look up to for guidance and instructions during any crisis.
You could consider working with disaster recovery experts to build an emergency response plan that actually works. Don’t forget to share the plan with all your employees. It’s just as important to print physical copies of the plan and display them throughout the office.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to conduct practice drills to familiarize employees with exit points and evacuation procedures. These activities will also help you identify and correct any gaps in your strategy.
3. Secure Your Locations
Poor construction, low-quality building materials, loose fixtures, and wobbly furniture could create additional threats during a hurricane or blizzard. Similarly, faulty electrical wiring and plumbing could pose serious threats.
That’s why it is necessary to regularly inspect your office premises and ensure that every building is structurally sound. Watch out for any visible signs of faulty construction. Also, it’s a good time to inspect the wiring and make sure the air-conditioning and HVAC filters are working.
Don’t forget to check the interiors, and secure any dangling fixtures and unsteady interiors. Make sure there aren’t any cracks on the doors and windows. Lastly, get sturdy stands or tables to securely mount all your appliances and equipment.
It’s not up to you to control the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events. Climate change will only catalyze the occurrence of such events in the future. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to minimize the impact of adverse weather on your business.
Start by outlining an emergency response plan and sharing it with your employees. Also, devise a robust contingency plan to deal with a power outage at the workplace. Lastly, inspect your office premises to ensure structural integrity.