During the first two weeks of January, Texas endured its first deep freeze of 2018. Meteorologists posted warnings about frigid temperatures, sleet, and freezing rain. Police urged everyone to stay home due to dangerous road conditions, causing schools and local businesses to shut down out of necessity. Phones went unanswered, customers went unaided, and companies missed out on crucial revenue, all because of an unexpected weather delay.
As a business, Technology-Pointe, Inc. (TPI) has only experienced one previous snow day. This time, however, we had a contingency plan in place.
With a day’s notice, we were able to make a few key changes that allowed all of our employees to work from home. Some may have been willing to risk the roads, but this way, were able to maintain maximum productivity without endangering the health or safety of our workers. Was your company impacted by the recent cold weather? In the future, how would your business fare if none of your employees could make it in to work?
Make a Plan
The key to a good contingency plan is having one in place BEFORE a disaster happens. Here are a few key things to consider:
- Start planning now. Contingency plans won’t happen overnight, but you can make small, practical changes over time. At TPI, we call this approach “the 1%.” When it comes to business goals, take small steps forward. Even if you can’t do everything at once, completing 1% at a time will ensure that you reach your goal.
- Setup your office with remote in mind. The most important step is to move your key line of business out of your physical office space. This includes any hardware or software that is absolutely essential to your business. The easiest way to do this is to move to a cloud-based system. There are several affordable options, such as a public cloud solution, or a private cloud solution from a local provider like TPI.
- Allow certain team members to work from home. It could be one day a week, or a few days a month. Team members who are already interested in working from home will have the most to gain from remote access, making them ideal candidates to test the new system.
- Slowly increase the number of people who can work from home. This allows everyone to get familiar with the new process. TPI allows several of our employees work from home at least one day a week.
- Start using a chat solution in the office. For example, we use Skype for Business to hold team meetings, even when everyone is present. Clear, reliable communication is always key.
Pro Tip: Invest in good headsets. We learned early on that if you try to do audio chat sessions with only desktop speakers, you end up with too much noise. Headsets made a world of difference.
- Find the right phone solution. Traditional phone systems may not have a remote feature, which could be an issue. One work around is to take advantage of call forwarding. Since most mobile calling plans are unlimited now, calls can be forwarded to an employee’s cell when necessary. You can set these up in advance as well.
Contingency Plans Benefit Your Business
Snow days aren’t the only way your business can be disrupted. Accidents like water main breaks and gas leaks can require immediate evacuation and shutdown. Issues with power and internet connectivity can disrupt productivity as well. Remote access provides flexible technology options in the face of any disruption.
Beyond the technology benefits, remote access can also improve office relations and employee retention. Flu season is in full swing, and every day, companies are faced with the decision to sacrifice productivity or protect the health of the entire office. In these cases, remote access would allow employees to work from home rather than call in, ensuring maximum business continuity. This also applies to employees who need a longer leave of absence, like maternity or medical leave.
Consult a Professional
Technology Pointe Inc. has been providing custom technology solutions for Austin-area businesses for more than 20 years. To discuss a remote access plan for your business, please schedule a consultation through our website. Together, we can develop a plan to keep your business operating, rain or shine.