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Preparing for Impact: Tips to Manage Workflow in the Face of a Natural Disaster

Over the past 25 years, as a global organization, PGi, like many other companies, has had its fair share of managing and working through natural disasters, challenges and threats. Our teams have navigated winds, rain, sleet and snow in different regional offices around the world, and have had to adapt and think quickly to keep our business running smoothly while ensuring the safety of our employees.

We’ve learned a lot over the years, and considering recent events, we’re sharing some tips on how to manage workflow and maintain efficiency when disaster strikes.

Putting Safety First

Although we’re a business, our priority is always the safety of our people. When natural disasters occur, we ensure employees are accounted for and safe. From there, based on the situation, we determine what precautionary measures need to be taken to ensure the safety of our team. It’s important to understand your local/national government security and guideline regulations and make sure you have a plan in place ahead of a disaster. That brings us to…

Thinking Proactively

If there’s ever a time to not have an emergency plan in place, it’s when the emergency is happening. Before inclement weather or unforeseen disasters hit, plan accordingly with your team and talk about how severe weather or other emergency situations may affect your business. Develop a proactive strategy and plan to minimize disruption should a natural disaster occur and make sure that it is communicated to all relevant stakeholders.

By developing a proactive plan and ensuring teams are all in alignment on emergency protocol, companies can reconvene quickly to minimize downtime.

Empowering Employees to Work Remotely

Whether it’s empowering people to work remotely or using communication and collaboration tools to troubleshoot and react to larger crises, companies depend on collaboration to get through a crisis. PGi’s mission is to provide comprehensive unified communication(UC) solutions that can help employees work anywhere, anytime, so we understand the importance of establishing flexible working policies for employees – especially in cases of emergency. In our latest Global Telework Survey, we found that more than 62 percent of companies don’t have an existing telecommuting policy in place, which can lead to gaps in communication and uncertainty in times of crises. Even if an organization’s work policy is to promote in-office work as much as possible when inclement weather or emergencies arise remote work capabilities can help keep a business running.

By having these policies in place, companies can their employees to make smarter decisions about whether they should work from home or come into the office. Something to consider: does your organization have a good conferencing/workspace application in place to accomplish this?

Working Around Power Outages

Power outages and/or network failures are some of the most common causes of downtime for companies. The key is to plan ahead and get creative. For instance, if you know that a storm is headed your direction, make sure you save important files on your laptop so you can access them offline. Leverage chat apps to stay connected via mobile devices and actively communicate your status with team members.

When it comes to keeping your phone and electronic devices powered, teams can use wireless battery chargers as a backup battery source. Finally, many cell phones can be used as mobile broadband modems in case the Wi-Fi goes out. So even when Wi-Fi is down, you may be able to use your phone’s hotspot to keep you connected long enough to finalize critical tasks or handoff projects to other team members.

Whether it’s a hurricane, a massive snow day or a transit strike that shuts down public transportation, things happen. With collaboration tools and a communications crisis plan in place, they don’t have to disrupt your organization.

Centrally located in the metro-Atlanta area and considering the recent weather occurrences, as a company, PGi communicated with teams proactively and often to make sure team members were safe and accounted for. However, there are many who are still in need after Hurricane Harvey and Irma’s devastating impact over the past several weeks. To find out more about how you can help and to make a donation please visit the American Red Cross.

About Luke Miller

Luke focuses on all things content creation and writing for PGi. He authors in-depth guides and product updates to teach users and readers about productivity and collaboration. In his spare time, Luke brags about being from North Carolina and loves referring to himself in third person.

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