Natural Disasters and Remote Workforces
Sep 14, 2020

Since March, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked our world. Months have flown by as we’ve figured out how to live in a world with mask requirements, country-wide shutdowns, and overflowing hospitals. And now, storm season is approaching and your business may feel more unprepared than ever.

How do you manage storm season when most of your workforce is still working remotely? Read on to learn about the challenges each of these situations pose and how you can tackle them and come out successful on the other side of the storm.

 

Challenges of COVID-19 and Storm Season

Storm season is never an easy time, and COVID-19 has only made things worse. Everyone is having to shelter at home to avoid becoming infected, but what happens if your home floods? People may be forced to move to storm shelters, which can become crowded and create a hotspot for COVID-19 to spread.

People may also have a hard time stocking up on staples they need to prepare for storm season this year. Items like canned food, batteries, and bottled water have been in high demand in recent months, and families may not be able to get what they need to weather a storm. The additional demands of storm season can also place more strain on normal supply lines, causing food and supply shortages.

 

Remote Work and COVID-19 

Since the beginning of COVID-19, many employees have transitioned to working from home as the entire nation has gone through shutdowns. Companies that previously had few or no remote employees may suddenly be coping with a completely remote workforce. This can pose some additional cyber risk challenges, as well as connectivity problems. 

Remote work depends on employees being able to get a reliable internet connection in their homes, which everyone may not have. Personal internet networks may not be as secure, which can cause a problem for those handling sensitive company information. And many companies are still sorting out how to move their operations to a remote platform without compromising productivity.

 

Remote Work and Storm Season

Some companies aren’t strangers to remote work, at least on a temporary basis. During hurricanes or wildfires, it may not be safe for some employees to come to the office to work. Rather than losing that productivity capability while those people are out, companies offered the option for them to work from home until the weather cleared.

However, storms pose some inherent difficulties for remote workers. If someone loses power at their house, they may not be able to get internet access to complete their work. They may also be working from home with their families around, which can cause a drop in productivity.

 

Document Losses

One of the most important things your company can do when managing remote work during storm season and COVID-19 is to document any losses. You’re going lose productivity and see a drop in revenue during these challenging times. You need to keep detailed records of financial losses, productivity losses, decreased working hours, and any other losses your company experiences during this time.

Oftentimes, your company insurance provider will help to reimburse you for some of these losses. The more detailed your records are, the more time you’ll likely be able to get reimbursed for. Check your insurance policy to see if there are any specific records your company will need to approve your claim.

 

Follow Local Regulations

Since March, many local and regional governments have been putting regulations in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Your area may also have business regulations in place to help deal with storm season. It’s important that your business follows these regulations to the letter when dealing with COVID- and storm-related losses. 

When you file a claim with your insurance company, they will do an in-depth review of your business’s activities during the period you’re filing for. If they discover you weren’t following required safety measures during this time, your claim could be denied. Make sure you stay up to date on your local regulations, and train all your employees to follow these regulations. 

 

Prepare for Weather Risks

Most businesses have been focusing most of their efforts in recent months towards setting up systems to control COVID-19. But with storm season on the way, it’s important that you don’t forget about preparing for weather risks. The more prepared you are up-front, the more damage you can prevent.

Set up a plan for how your business will respond in the event of a storm, including a phone tree to contact your employees. If your remote employees have company equipment at home, set up protocols to protect that equipment. Also set up a plan for how your business will protect data in the event of power outages and how you will resume operations when the clouds have passed.

 

Support Your Employees

At the end of the day, your employees are far and away your business’s most valuable asset. When you’re making preparations to handle storms and the pandemic, make sure your employees get the support they need. When your employees are safe and healthy, your company will be more productive and more successful.

Make sure you have adequate safety measures in place to protect your employees from COVID-19. If they’re working from home, especially during a storm, do everything you can to make sure they have adequate food, safe shelter, and a strong internet connection. And if someone is displaced by a storm, try to help them find a safe place to stay and make sure they have a consistent paycheck until they’re back on their feet.

 

Prepare for a Pandemic Storm Season

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enough havoc for businesses already, and now storm season is on its way. Make sure your business is prepared to document all your losses and follow regulations to a tee. Prepare for the coming storms, and make sure your employees get the support they need during these chaotic times.

If you’d like help protecting your business, check out the rest of our site at Gallagher Basset. We’re dedicated to guiding you, guarding your business, and going beyond in providing protection and assistance. Contact us today and start creating a more secure workplace today.

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