More businesses seriously considering disaster preparedness
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that preparation for interruption events is critical. Businesses with a tried and tested remote operating plan and the technology infrastructure to support remote work typically fared better than those that didn’t – at least in the early days of the pandemic.
There are lessons that can be learned from that in tackling the ever-growing challenge of weather disasters across Canada, and other catastrophic events.
A recent First OnSite’s survey asked: ‘If a disaster were to hit your community, how would your business support its workers?’
Nationally, 70% of respondents said they would provide flexibility with work to allow employees to deal with their home and family, while 63% said they would provide constant open lines of communication and continuous updates.
One-in-five businesses said they would offer bonuses, overtime pay and/or incentives for working through a disaster. More than half of businesses (55%) said they would connect employees with outside help and support services after a catastrophic event, such as mental health, community or government resources. However, there are still 10% of businesses that have not yet considered connecting employees with outside help or developed a plan to support its workers in the event of a disaster.
What First OnSite’s Business Preparedness Survey showed is that more and more businesses are starting to think more seriously about preparedness for natural disasters in general. Preparedness is twofold. There are things to do with practice and procedure that businesses can prepare for, finding answers to questions like: how are you going to continue operating if staff are evacuated? Are your employees able to work from home or will you need to relocate them? Do they have the necessary equipment to be able to do their jobs from home or another location?
From a practical perspective regarding the actual facility, there are lots of smart things that can be done to buildings to mitigate the risk of fire, flood and storm damage.
Most insurers and brokers across Canada are delivering the same message: plan ahead and you’ll see the advantages when catastrophe strikes. The Insurance Bureau of Canada – the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers – regularly releases updates on disaster preparedness. The association advises businesses to prepare a written business continuity plan, which is reviewed, developed, and tested on a regular basis. The plan should cover elements like business-critical activities, leadership, employee training, and human resources.