Dealing with disasters as a business owner
Bearing the burden of responsibility in the workplace is a tough yet essential role for a business owner, but sometimes, the occurrence and consequences of highly distressing events can be totally out of their hands.
What’s not out of their hands, however, is their ability to support their coworkers through the thick and thin, take steps to repair and nurture their company, and to provide a source of strength for those who need it.
If you feel like you need to sharpen up your own skills in crisis management or happen to be coping with a disaster in the workplace as of late, here are some important tips and pointers that you might want to check out.
A plan of action
If you can manage to create a clear plan of action for employees to follow in the event of a disaster at work, you can make sure to send your people in the right direction and hopefully protect your business to the best of your ability.
For example, who should employees contact? Which elements of the business need to stay open? Do any of your employees need extra support? Is everyone aware of the emergency exits?
Taking time to write up a disaster protocol policy should help employees stay safe in the unfortunate event of an emergency evacuation and generally help place an emphasis on the value of workplace safety across the board.
Find the right specialists
In many instances, a disaster at work can lead to some hefty damages to the premises, so making sure you have the right specialists on your radar is essential.
For example, if you need to get hold of some elite fire and water remediation services, it is probably best to make sure that you reach for the phone as soon as possible to minimize further damage, stress, or company closures.
Make yourself available
Some of the best leaders are well aware that people are looking up to them for advice, support, and general reassurance. In times of crisis, this becomes extraordinarily apparent, and great leaders are somewhat defined by their ability to stay strong and help others.
By making yourself available to your coworkers, you can essentially offer a helping hand just by listening.
Whether this is via phone calls or you make a home visit, any way that you can show your employees that you are there for them, or you can direct them to people who can support them (e.g., counselors, HR specialists), then you can rest easy in knowing you are doing your bit to be a good boss.
Offer training to employees
If employees have been thoroughly trained in crisis management, you might be able to reduce the time it takes to recover from a disaster as a business.
The sooner you get up and running again and you feel comfortable enough to do so, the quicker you can hope to work on creating a semblance of normality.
Plus, training is usually a great way of making sure that employees have the tools they need to support them through their working life, and it can make people feel more comfortable at work in general.
Health and safety training is a must, so whether you offer this in the form of your own in-house training or decide to outsource your efforts, it should not be skimped on to save some dollars, as it can help optimize your workforce in many different areas.
Keep backups of valuable data
From sensitive customer information to the software infrastructure and the emails on your company network, there is often a great deal of data to take care of in business.
Making backups and restoration points is a good way to ensure that your files do not get completely lost in the event of a disaster.
Opting for cloud storage can help you keep your files safe should your physical space be compromised by a flood or a fire. Plus, this can make your data more accessible to employees working remotely.
Embrace remote working
Remote working has been a polarizing topic for many of the world’s workers over the last few years, but it is nonetheless extremely valuable in the right circumstances.
Supporting a remote workforce can be difficult, to say the least, but if your situation necessitates it, it is worth thinking about a few essential puzzle pieces such as:
- Sourcing the right equipment – Ensuring that your employees have the right equipment for the job is a must. Phones, laptops, mics, cameras, and whatever else they might require are worth looking into.
- Checking in – The mental wellbeing of your staff is incredibly important, and as a business owner, taking steps to check in and nurture your employees can be intrinsically linked to their productivity, job satisfaction, and effectiveness.
- Allow your employees to have space – For staff to thrive in what is inherently a flexible role, they should be allowed the freedom to carry out their tasks autonomously and without the need for micromanagement.
Acceptance is important for progression
By accepting the consequences of a disaster in the workplace, you are essentially arming yourself with the tools that you need to move on from the event.
If you dwell on the past or waste your time mulling over what you simply cannot change, you are not adopting a progressive mindset. Looking forward one step at a time is useful for instigating meaningful change.
Recovering from a workplace crisis can take a long time, so learning to accept this, and also the fact that it might not be the same again, is critical in making the right repairs.
What do your staff think?
Why not ask your employees how they feel about the whole situation? Gathering their feedback and helping them work through their thoughts and feelings can enable them to better understand how to cope.
Moreover, this can be good for you as a business owner, too, as sometimes, simply talking about how you feel and empathizing with others can do the world of good.