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How to Prepare for an Office Disaster

Posted by Mark Bates
Apr 23, 2018

Despite the perception many might have of being one’s own boss, those in the know will tell you that running a business is certainly no walk in the park. In fact, there are times when it can feel like you’re going from one office disaster to the next, firefighting as best you can to keep everything on track.
How to Prepare for an Office Disaster
Photo by RAWPIXEL

Whether it’s the resignation of a key member of the team, the loss of a major customer or even damage to your building and equipment, these are the steps you can take to put a disaster recovery plan in place so you can live to fight another day.

 

1. The resignation of a key employee

You might think it’s melodramatic to call the loss of a key employee an office disaster. However, anyone who has experienced it will tell you the resignation of key personnel can bring a small business to its knees. A business disaster plan can prove to be invaluable in this type of unexpected situation. It helps to reduce uncertainty about the business’s future and mitigate the impact it will have.

Needless to say, the best time to figure out a contingency plan for the loss of key personnel is before it happens. With this in mind, there are a number of different approaches you can take:

  • Make it easier to replace departing employees by talent pooling. This means effectively having a list of prospective candidates who could fill a position before it becomes available.
  • Introduce staff training programmes to ensure there is effectively a backup for every employee who understands the role and can step in if required.
  • Solicit honest feedback from key workers and incentivise them to stay with pay raises, share schemes and opportunities for progression.
  • Invest in key person insurance, which could buy the business the time it needs to find a replacement for a crucial member of the team.

 

2. The loss of a major customer

It’s not unusual for a small business to have just one or two major customers. This can be particularly common in industries such as manufacturing, fashion and construction. When a customer a business relies on collapses or chooses to go elsewhere, the fallout can be devastating. That’s where a disaster recovery plan can help.

Again, the key is to take steps to protect your business before the disaster occurs. When you win a large contract, it should be treated as a bonus. You should continue to market your business and not focus your activity solely on that contract. Although opinions differ, conventional wisdom suggests no single customer should account for more than 40 per cent of your turnover. That doesn’t mean you should turn away major customers. However, you should continue or even increase your marketing efforts to redress the balance.

You should also keep a close eye on costs. Even if you secure a lucrative contract, be mindful that the insolvency of that business could bring the contract to an end at any time. For that reason, you should take steps to reduce your overheads. Also, be prepared to switch suppliers if necessary to keep costs down.

 

3. Damage to your premises

Fortunately, natural disasters are few and far between in Ireland. However, that doesn’t mean a storm, flood or fire couldn’t cause considerable damage to your buildings and put the future of your business at risk. Making sure you have the necessary insurance coverage in place is the first step to protecting your business against this type of office disaster. Still, that should not be the only step in your business disaster plan.

Although insurance may cover the damage done to buildings and equipment, unless you have business interruption cover in place, it will not protect you against the financial losses resulting from lost work. To help you get back up and running as quickly as possible, it pays to have another plan in place.

For example, if your buildings are damaged, consider renting the necessary equipment to get your team back to work fast. This would allow them to work remotely while buildings are repaired. Alternatively, you could rent office space and fill it with hired laptops, desktop computers and other equipment required to operate.

 

Want to get back to work fast?

If an office disaster puts your business at risk, renting the office equipment you need could be an important part of your disaster recovery plan. At Hire Intelligence, you can hire the small business basics on a short-term or long-term basis. Need some advice? Just get in touch with our team.

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