A 3×3 Plan to Prepare for Disaster In Your Professional Life

When you hear the word “preparedness” you probably think of saving your possessions from a hurricane, tornado, or other natural disasters. This is definitely very important! You can find out more about how to get ready for a home catastrophe in my article Hurricanes, Tornadoes, & Fires, Oh My! Get prepared & organized for any disaster!

This article prepares you for a calamity in your professional life. Disasters can happen whether you work for yourself out of a home office or if you have a corner office in a large company-owned building. There are different levels of readiness depending on the impact of the disaster and your dedication to your professional life.

Let’s discuss the minimal level of readiness for a variety of situations.

Computer Loss. Computers (and other electronic gadgets) can be stolen, left behind, fall, burn in a fire, drown, infected, or simply die. PROTECTION is your best defense. 

  • A $20 laptop lock will keep your computer safe when you’re working in a public place. 
  • Virus protection is crucial to prevent an infection on your computer.
  • Consistent data backup is critical. Depending on the importance of your data, you may consider an external hard-drive and/or an off-site location. 

If you hear any weird noises or notice anything out of the ordinary, contact a professional. The last thing you want is the “blue screen of death,” especially if you haven’t backed-up recently. Years ago I ignored such warnings and lost everything. I hadn’t backed-up in four months and the data was totally unrecoverable. I’ll never make that mistake again!

Incapacitation. We don’t like to think about it, but it’s possible to be in the hospital for an extended period of time without the ability to speak or type, or the energy to work. Here are some tips to ensure that you’re prepared:

  • Establish an easy-to-locate communication plan. Whether you work for a company or for yourself, there are people who will need to be notified that you are out of commission for a while. You may not be able to make these calls. You need to identify someone who will communicate your absence and make sure they know who to contact. 
  • Create a map. What happens in your absence? What tasks still need to be completed and who will be responsible for them? What tasks can be deferred? 
  • Select adequate insurance. If you’re unable to work for a period of time, how will the bills be paid? Do you have disability insurance or will savings cover your personal bills? While we’re talking about insurance, how’s your health insurance? Will you have to pay many of your medical expenses out-of-pocket? 

Physical Damage. Lightning strikes and fries some of your electrical equipment. The roof of your office caves in due to heavy snow. Now there are roof parts mixed in with printer parts. Not to mention water damage. You total your car and can’t get to client locations. 

floodPhysical loss can often be the most difficult because it’s visual until it’s repaired or replaced. There are steps you can take to minimize physical damage. 

  • Know alternative ways to complete high impact tasks. Is there a virtual assistant who can complete critical tasks on a short-term basis? Are there equipped office spaces that can be rented by the day?
  • Keep appropriate supplies. If your locale has frequent storms that knock power out for any period of time, you may want to get a generator. Yes, I know you might be able to pick up your laptop and go to the nearest coffee shop…except if it’s a wide-spread outage that lasts multiple days. 
  • Obtain sufficient insurance. If your location is subject to tornadoes or floods, your insurance coverage will be different from people who live in areas that don’t usually experience such weather. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by what you need to do to prepare for a disaster, remember that the most important part of establishing a readiness plan is having a functional one in which everyone on the staff (even if you are a staff of one!) has the ability to access important information.

If you’re not sure where to start, contact us. Minding Your Matters will be happy to help you create a disaster plan for your business. It will certainly be easier than organizing everything after adversity.

Janice is available to speak throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Denver, London, New York City, Montreal, Ontario, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, San Francisco, St. Louis, Seattle, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., and the Triangle area of North Carolina (including Apex, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Fayetteville, Morrisville, and Raleigh).

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