September is National Preparedness Month in the United States, and here at Tangoe, we’re staying ready. Sure, it’s important to provide best-in-class TEM solutions to customers and ensuring our experts are always available to help. But for us, it goes even further.
Preparedness happens both on the individual and the organizational level. Making sure everyone has the support and sufficiency necessary to navigate difficult moments, no matter how unexpected, builds better resiliency well into the future. And while staying safe can mean many different things to different people, getting started doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.
Staying Prepared in Work-From-Anywhere
The Work from Anywhere philosophy many organizations are adopting means a great deal for productivity and employee satisfaction. But it also means that, in times of emergency, not every employee will be located in a central office.
Even in this new Work from Anywhere world, there are universal steps employees can take to ensure preparedness well ahead of any unexpected events. Here are a few questions worth asking, no matter where we work:
- Where Will I Shelter? Employees working from home must know the nearest, safest place to move to in case of emergency. Preparing an actionable plan for reaching this spot in cases of emergency is essential. For Work from Anywhere staff who are frequently on the go, an adequate shelter plan may change, but it’s a necessary part of the overall remote work experience.
- What’s My Evacuation Plan? Knowing where to shelter is only one part of the equation.Getting from point A to safety can be a challenge, but mapping the route and steps to take beforehand ensures a smoother, safer transition in a stressful situation. Not everything may go according to plan, so knowing alternative routes and backup shelter locations can heighten preparedness.
- Is My Emergency Kit Ready? An emergency preparedness kit contains food, water, and vital supplies to last at least several days. These kits should be kept regularly updated with unexpired supplies and will vary depending on the needs of the user. Store-bought kits can be a good starting point, but building one yourself is also a completely viable option. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a good overview of items to consider adding to your kit.
While these aren’t the only considerations when considering preparedness, but they’re a good starting point for evaluating risk and sensible options. Much of the planning may also include family members, loved one, and coworkers – so involving them in the preparedness conversation is a good best practice. And of course, don’t forget your pets!
Preparing Emergency Communications
Employers have a role to play in emergency management as well using their communication infrastructure. In times of emergency, knowing who’s safe, who needs help, and where employees are is crucial. Yet it may not be feasible to simply call into the organization’s central location to provide this much-needed information. In times of emergency networks, devices, and physical communication infrastructure can be delayed or unavailable, making something as simple as sending a text message or making a phone call impossible.
This is where a cloud-based solution such as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) comes in. By providing a wider variety of communication options, ranging from telephony to video calling to IM, email, and more, organizations avail themselves of the services required for specific teams.
These cloud-based services can remain resilient and available, with each option acting as a back-up of the others. Staff can check in not only with their employer but also with family and friends via social media or other communication channels offered as a part of UCaaS.
Organizations that offer Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) also strengthen their teams’ emergency preparedness by providing a hardware solution. By ensuring each employee’s device is up-to-date with the newest communications apps and built for the latest technology, such as 5G, there’s less risk of error compared to outdated devices. Replacing lost or damaged devices is straightforward via a self-procurement portal once the emergency has passed.
All levels of an organization should be involved with emergency preparedness. On the individual level, there’s plenty to be done with discussing, deciding, and planning for likely emergency events, and steps to stay safe and secure throughout a disaster. Involving the entire family, including children, helps ensure no one is afraid when it comes time to access the emergency preparedness kit and get moving to shelter.
When disaster strikes an organization, a business continuity plan is crucial to continuing operations and serving customers amid an emergency. These plans can leverage technology like DaaS and UCaaS to keep communications consistent and available, and should be detailed and updated regularly to ensure no one is left behind. Finally, employees should be able to reach out to the business continuity team with any questions they may have on staying prepared or being available to others.
Communication is vital in planning for, overcoming, and recovering from an emergency. To learn more about what to do to prepare, visit Ready.gov for detailed planning guides and resources. And to learn more about UCaaS and DaaS as a solution to your ongoing communications needs, contact us today to start preparing for tomorrow.