We might not like to think about the aftermath of a natural disaster hitting where we live or work – but it’s definitely a worthwhile concern, especially for large multi-site corporations. Since 2000, natural disasters have cost the global economy over $2.4 trillion. That’s more than $150 billion a year. And the risk is widespread, among both developed and developing countries – the most economically vulnerable countries include the US and Japan, as well as India and Taiwan. For international firms, a disaster in one location can break a global chain, whether by taking a supplier out of work or leaving the head office nonfunctional.
Although many disasters, such as the recent earthquakes in Nepal, cannot be predicted with statistical certainty, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing businesses can do to make sure they’re ready – and mitigate the consequences. Here are some of the most important areas to consider.
Carry out a business impact assessment
Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes – and identifying the potential impact is the first step. All offices and locations should have a business impact assessment, including potential disruption to earnings and workspaces. This also needs to take into account increased expenses, the human impact on both customers and employees, and contractual penalties.
Remember to spread this assessment down to line-of-business employees. Regus research shows there’s often a large gap between what employers expect employees’ priorities to be in the case of a disaster and what they actually are, which can negatively affect productivity and satisfaction.
Plan for recovery
Make sure that all key people know exactly where they need to be and what they need to be doing, and practice it regularly so that everyone’s clear. Keep updating your plan as your business changes – it shouldn’t be static and it also needs to consider specific local conditions for different sites.
Ensure that you have options to minimize disruption if your workspace is out of action. Workplace recovery plans are a simple way to give your team fast access to professional offices with full facilities so that business can continue like usual.
Make sure you’re backed up
On-site servers and computers can be lost in an instant. Keeping a copy of everything useful in cloud storage means your employees will immediately be able to access data and work and get back to normal with minimal loss, even if it’s the head office that’s been affected.