8 Practical Tips to Prepare Your Business and Employees for a Hurricane

8 Practical Tips to Prepare Your Business and Employees for a Hurricane

Hurricane season has begun (dun dun dunnn); which means we should start boarding up our houses and buying all the canned foods and water bottles we need for 3+ months — RIGHT NOW. Right?

On the contrary, hurricane season preparation doesn’t begin as early as it should AND we are not preparing everything that needs to be prepped. Unfortunately, we forget about the other important things like our business properties and our employees in the event of a hurricane/ storm, which means we may not be as ready as we thought.

You’re probably thinking, “So, Pete, you’re telling me, in addition to preparing my family and my house, I have to prepare my business and employees?”

Yes, that is absolutely right! You need to ensure that there is a plan in place so that your business can keep going.

Now, you’re thinking: “how do I prepare my business buildings, employees, and processes so that we can continue to serve our customers during and after the storm?”

Luckily, I have these 8 tips that I gathered from a conversation with my good friends at Florida Family Insurance and SNI Companies on exactly how to do that! So, keep reading! (For the full podcast, click here)

1. Speak to your Insurance Agents, now!

Stephanie: “We suggest you call your insurance agents now and ask them to review your coverage. The last thing you want is to go through a hurricane and have a surprise. So, call your agent, ask them, and don’t be afraid to ask: ‘how did my current carrier perform during [Hurricane] Irma?’” 

Takeaway: Stephanie from Florida Family Insurance suggests that you call your insurance agents and go over what’s covered and what’s not. This will help you get an idea of how to react once the storm has past and if you have an damage, how to report it.

2. Ensure your Employees are Cross-Trained 

Stephanie: “Our hurricane plan is making sure both our policyholders and our agents are prepared and have the materials they need, but making sure our staff is ready by the time hurricane season hits… And it’s about making sure that everyone is cross-trained. We all become staff members of the Claims Department if there’s a hurricane. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in actuary or a financial analyst, you’re on the phone taking claims calls.”

Takeaway: Not everyone will be able to make it into work during or after the storm. If your employees are not cross-trained, there is a lower chance that your business will be able to take on the post-hurricane demand. You’re probably thinking, “Pete, I don’t have time to cross-train my employees before the storm comes, what are my other options?” If you cannot cross-train your employees in time, look to our third tip!

3. Speak with a Staffing Agency to Fill Temp Positions Immediately

Rose from SNI Companies:  “If you know your business gets a boom during a certain time, I think it’s always important to partner with a staffing agency so they understand what your needs are, what your culture is, what the job duties are, so they can plug the right candidates in for you when you have the need…Our office always has a pool of candidates that we steadily used to fill positions that are open and we’re not waiting for a client to call us. We’re proactively recruiting and getting those candidates ready. So, as soon as we get a call, we are ready.”

Takeaway: Hurricanes are not all bad, in that they can create business for companies, which means more work for you. Therefore, if you are not properly staffed to take on all those requests, it will be hard to stay organized and leverage your new customers. Staffing agencies like SNI Companies can immediately place temporary candidates to help with the influx. We’re talking about positions like cost accountants, project estimators, claims adjusters, customer service representatives, and more. Call SNI Companies to find out more about how they can help your business prepare.

4. Let your Employees Prepare their Families/Homes

Stephanie: “At the beginning of hurricane season, we make sure that our employees put a lot of focus on preparing themselves, their home, and their families. If they don’t feel confident about their family’s [safety], if they are insecure and unprepared, they’re not going to be able to and shouldn’t be able to devote the time and attention to the policyholders; so, we make sure that they spend the time on the front end preparing themselves and they are ready when they need to come back to the office. So, we have plans to text message and our employees. We have an employee hotline. Each employee gets a card that gives them the information — so that they can get regular updates on what’s expected of them in the office.”

Laurie: “I think one of the most important things you can do as an employer is to remember your employees are people and their primary concern is about their family and their homes. So, what we do at Florida Family is we’ll rotate people in and out during a workday to give them time to go to the grocery store to get the food they need to go get plywood from home depot to get their house ready. So, we just feel it’s really important that they feel 100 percent confident that they’re prepared for the storm.”

Takeaway: Allow employees to focus on their family and home before they take on the challenge of maintaining the business. Once they feel confident that their family and home are secure, they will do the same for your business.

5. During/After the Storm, Provide your Employees with Food/Snacks/Water

Stephanie: “If you’re in a situation where your employees are going to have to come in rapidly and worked for long hours after a storm, supply them with some food and snacks, they’re not going to be able to take breaks to eat lunch and it’s hard to find lunch…”

Takeaway: Make it easy for your employees to work in the conditions of the aftermath. Providing food is a simple way to do that.

 6. Protect the (Tech) Goods

Stephanie: “So, practical things that people should think about for their plan are, what are you going to do with your equipment? So, you have all these computers and if we work downtown on the South Bank, in San Marco, which we knew the during [Hurricane] Irma was going to get some water. We didn’t know how much. So, you might want to think about taking all your computers home or having the employees take them. [Ask] how are you going to process payments? Do your employees have calculators and practical things, enough paper receipts, right? So, all that should be in a plan and thought/ about purchased in-advance.”

 Takeaways: Figure out each scenario (no power, no internet, no computers) and ask, “how will you conduct business through each?” and then plan accordingly.

Also, if you do have expensive equipment and you are near a body of water, place the equipment at least 5 feet above the floor in case of flooding or ask your employees/ IT department to take them home.

7. Have a Paper Copy of Everything

Stephanie: “Make sure that you have your home insurance agent’s contact information, how to know how to report a claim, take a photo of your policy number and your agent’s phone number, carrier’s information. Make that a note in your phone and keep that handy.”

Takeaway: Do not rely on your electronic devices and the cloud for important documents. Write them down, take pictures, and print them out to guarantee you have everything on hand.

8. Create a “boredom” box

Stephanie: “I’m preparing my “boredom” box is one of the last things I do. You don’t, you forget how bored you get during the storm, so get all your games down, get your puzzles down, books you want to reread and put them in a central location in your house so you’re not climbing through dark closets, letting things fall on your head during the storm.”

Takeaway: Things don’t have to be gloomy during/after a hurricane. Keep the ambiance light and fun. The “boredom” box is something that you can easily do at home and in the office to get some good energy out of a terrifying or stressful situation.

 

So, there you go hurricane/ storm preppers! If you didn’t get any new information, fantastic, sounds like you’re prepared for the next gust of wind flying our way. If you did get some new insights and you want more information, feel free to visit the links below!

Happy prepping from your Hurricane Staffing Expert,

-Pete Langlois

 

Visit Florida Family Insurance’s Resource Center here.

Get more info on Temporary Staffing Services here.

Get Free Business Hurricane Guides here.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

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