A rewarding contribution for me at SH Architecture is to provide office management processes that increase our efficiency. Sometimes they are a simple idea of improved workflow process and others a more serious in depth procedure as I would like to share with you today.
Does your company have a business continuity plan (AKA: business emergency plan, disaster recovery plan) in place? If so, is it up to date within the last 6 months? I would be correct in saying every business owner desires to safeguard their investment. So, preparing your team to handle the ultimate unexpected event would probably be considered time well spent. Especially, after a disaster has occurred.
SH Architecture’s plan incorporates emergency procedures for the safety of our employees as well as procedures in place to assure clients that under an unplanned business disruption SH Architecture will be able to meet the client’s needs.
During my planning and execution journey, I encountered some tips that may be helpful for you:
- It is vital to have the support of ownership/management in development, training, and testing your plan. They need to be an active participant during the process and well informed of procedures put in place to effectively handle a multitude of emergency situations. This is your planning team that will hold a multitude of confidential information.
- Categorize risks by the level of the natural and man-made disasters that could impact the business. It may be as simple as a workstation failure up to a natural disaster. This is important in communication if the plan is activated as relates to the resources applied. A planning exercise to identify and rank risks is helpful.
- Prioritize a list of your critical operations, team member in charge, and procedure to recover from the disaster. Document critical information (employee, client and vendor contact information, vital records, critical supplies, information technology records, emergency checklists, alternate location, etc.) in easily retrievable formats. Store offsite copies of the plan and critical information with the critical operations team.
- Post and communicate the basics of your plan and emergency evacuation procedures for all team members to easily access. Don’t forget to test everyone at least once a year. And, don’t forget to incorporate the plan at the orientation process of each new hire.
- Know your financial situation. Access to cash should be evaluated. Don’t forget to establish procedures for controlling costs under an emergency and processing payroll.
- Many resources and templates exist to maximize your efficiency during plan development and record keeping. Controlling overhead costs is always important.
- Know your local community connections and public response plans. They can strengthen your ability to recover quickly from disaster.
I would recommend not underestimating the severity of potential known threats and how they will impact your business. Statistics have shown 25% of businesses do not reopen after closure because of a disaster. More than loss of owner investment, jobs and family security are at risk. I believe businesses are one of our community’s most valuable assets.