We live in remarkable times for disaster. While it is true that in many ways we’re as safe and as comfortable now as humans ever have been- 100 years ago kings were thrilled by indoor plumbing and millionaires were glad not to get cholera- the relentless reach of humans has combined with a number of other factors to make huge disasters part of the numbing thrum of news. California is getting ready for its biggest wildfire season ever, but huge fires have become so regular that people outside those affected hardly even notice anymore. Let’s looks at how mobile tech can help with business disaster planning.
This regularity is a problem. We’ve become inundated with hurricanes. They may not be more frequent or stronger than before- though that is questionable- but man has built up in so many hurricane zones that their impacts are greater. Same with earthquakes, tornadoes. We also have the relatively modern (and growing) factor of mass shootings, as well as the extremely recent threat of data hackers, both those with a point and those who just want to watch things burn. In short, your business faces a huge number of threats. Any day, the lights can go off. Luckily, mobile can help you become prepared.
We’re humans. We’re not really the best at planning ahead. When running our businesses, we look at immediate costs first, and then long-term considerations. If you can invest in a disaster plan for something that might happen, or spend that money on a current and definite issue, we choose the latter every time. Even though the disaster might cost us everything if it happens, and the pressing issue will only cost a little if neglected, many of us are hard-wired to not think very far ahead.
But of course, every disaster story on the news ends with the lingering agony of a business owner staring at the wreckage of their dreams, muttering with closed lips under a 500-yard stare that they’ve lost everything. When disaster strikes, it happens to someone- and that someone could be you. Practical disaster planning for your business isn’t just a good thought experiment- it could be vitally important. The article linked to above talks about the major things for which you need to prepare- how to take care of your data, your finances, your physical assets, your team, and your customers. It’s a great piece to read. But the part we want to focus on is this part, about the team:
In the event of a catastrophe, your natural instinct will be to put your business on hold and make sure team-members and employees are safe. Follow that instinct. Everyone else will understand if you take a few hours, days, or even weeks to attend to the people that you work with each and every day. The physical safety and well-being of your team is paramount because of what they each have meant to you in the past…and what they will mean to you in the future.
Using Mobile to Keep Everyone Informed
This is where mobile tech can come in handy. There are two different scenarios I want to go over here. Both of these are broad umbrellas, and obviously every scenario is different. But mobile tech is a great way to keep everyone calm and on the same page.
A quick caveat- this is in no way meant to replace planning ahead and letting people know what to do in the event of an emergency. But this can help keep people calm if the unthinkable happens.
Disaster while at work
Imagine then that there is a disaster- a tornado is bearing down, or there is a local fire or explosion, or some madman with a gun. Oftentimes, the best laid plans dissolve as people try to escape, panicking and not thinking clearly. This is where your mobile plans can come in. Designate a handful of people, including yourself if you are the boss, to have an instant way to text the whole group- your entire company, and individual teams. You can coordinate a plan on the fly and use it to communicate with everyone. Examples of messages could include:
Go to the west hallway- flooding in the east
Meeting up in parking garage for headcount
Doors are blocked at south end- do not head that way
All clear coming in- we’re fine
Obviously, for those blessed or cursed with imagination, all those briefs texts imagine scenarios too horrifying to maybe think about, like the famous six-word story probably not written by Hemingway. But if the terrible does happen, you’ll be glad you had people designated in advance to keep things calm and to get people moving. You’ll also be able to help people who maybe have been separated and are scared. If they know there is a person to text, they are more likely to reach him or her.
Disaster after work hours
Sometimes things happen at night or in the early hours. There could be a late fire, or maybe an earthquake, or any number of things. Having a contingency program in place can help your employees know what is going on. Imagine if they were to wake up and see on the news that their place of work burned to the ground? OK, some might be happy, but most would be deeply concerned about their livelihood.
Now imagine if they wake up first to a text message about what happened, and about what they can expect, and that they are secure in the knowledge they’ll receive updates about the situation. Not only will they be relieved, but you won’t be bombarded with worried phone calls and emails when you are trying to figure out your next step. It’s a win for everyone.
Disasters rarely end well- but they do end. And if you are prepared, they can end the best possible way, given the circumstances. You can rebuild. But if you use the ubiquity of mobile technology to your advantage, not only can you rebuild your enterprise, but you can help to keep your employees calm, safe, and as shielded as they can be from the vicissitudes of difficult times.