An old saying about computer users says there are two types: those who backup…and those who are about to.
The same can be said about organizations and emergency planning.
Today’s mega storm (who knew a “Bombogenesis” was a thing?) promises to challenge those plans up and down the East Coast.
The ABCs of being ready:
Two questions determine whether or not business keeps moving: are people allowed to work remotely; and can they. The first is a matter of permission; the second, equipment. How important is the latter? Boston’s official report on the infamous winter of 2015 chalked up many losses to employees without access to critical files, information, and connections. The moral: make sure people can connect at all times.
It’s a fact that not everyone can work by remote. Emergency personnel and medical professionals are among those who have to be on site. For many, getting out the door will depend on whether there are children in the house…and whether there is someone to watch them. Ideally you want a back-up partner who will make that care happen under any circumstances. As a Cornell Weill Medical College administrator advocating for the hospital’s back-up care program put it, “We could not have somebody who was supposed to be doing surgery at 6:00 in the morning worrying all night about what their back-up child care was going to be.”
Part one of the “ability” equation (are people allowed to work at home, see above) requires people to know what the rules are. Do they feel empowered to make the decision? Will they hit the road for fear of repercussions? The best plans have a singular source for information with an email, an update, and a hotline. By 3pm Wednesday, we at Bright Horizons in Massachusetts had already gotten the notice: “Please prepare by taking home any equipment and documents so that you can perform your daily activities remotely. If you are able to work at home, you are encouraged to do so.”
Bombogenesis: Stay Safe Out There!
A final note: the current storm raging up the Eastern Seaboard gave us plenty of time to plan ahead. That’s not always the case. Emergency plans need to be ready for surprises as well as the expected.
Many folks will wake up Friday to a reckoning of how well they did. Of course, the most important thing is the safety of your people.
From all of us at Bright Horizons — stay safe out there!