Now that much of the United States is digging out from beneath several inches (or in some cases, feet!) of snow, this is a great time to revisit your firm’s inclement weather business continuity plans.
In Part One of this series, we shared some insights from our recent chat with Lisa Smith, a Certified Business Continuity Planner here at Eze Castle Integration. We looked at some things to consider when your office building is forced to close down due to the weather conditions.
Even if your building is not forced to close during a storm, there are still a number of important challenges to consider. In this article, we will examine a few things to think about when preparing you firm for this scenario.
ASSUMPTION: Your office building is able to remain open.
What if employees cannot get there?
What methods of transportation do your employees use to commute to work? Are all forms of public transportation still functioning in the inclement weather? Are all major routes to your office open and travelable? If not, employees may not be able to get into the office during this time. Before this occurs, be sure to have a plan in place for determining whether an employee can choose to work from home. Can they make this decision on their own if the roads are not clear, or should they contact their managers to request permission to telecommute? Whichever method works best for your firm is fine, but protocol should be determined in advance to avoid confusion and loss of valuable work time
What should be done if employees’ homes or families are affected by the weather?
Even if transportation methods remain intact, an employee may be faced with challenges at home as a result of the storm. For instance, if an employee’s home is badly damaged in a hurricane, he may not be able to perform his job for a few days. In this case, is there someone else within the firm that can handle his most critical responsibilities? This is where planning measures taken in advance, such cross training employees, can be extremely helpful.
Another aspect to consider in this scenario is what should be done if an employee or a member of his or her family is injured or becomes sick as a result of the inclement weather. This would most likely prevent the employee from reporting to the office, however he or she may need access to applicable information such as medical insurance plans. Before disaster strikes, it is important that employees are familiar with the process for obtaining this type of information, whether it be through your firm’s Human Resources department, their respective managers, or a third party.
If your external dependencies are in jeopardy…
What if inclement weather strikes, but it does not directly influence your geographical area? External parties, such as vendors, investors, brokers, and others may be affected. If one of these parties becomes inaccessible, how will you minimize the adverse effects to your business?
Who are you alternative contacts at these firms?
For each vital contact your employees work with at external companies, an alternate contact should be pre-established, so that your employees are clear on who they should speak with in the case of a loss of communication with the primary contact. Check in with this alternate person in advance, to ensure that he or she has access to the knowledge and resources necessary to carry out the activities of your primary contact.
What are the business continuity plans of these firms?
You should be familiar with the business continuity plans of all external dependencies. They, too, should have procedures in place to handle difficult weather conditions, and to maintain communication with your firm and others should this situation occur.
Next week, we'll discuss some general business continuity considerations for all scenarios. To get the article delivered direct to your inbox, subscribe to Hedge IT here.
In the meantime, be sure to check out our other articles on Business Continuity Planning:
Last but not least, Eze Castle’s Business Continuity Planning Services (Eze BCP) extend beyond technology to focus on the critical operations and processes that a hedge fund or investment firm must have available if a disruption occurs. Our Certified Business Continuity Professionals work with clients to address the full-spectrum of BCP. Learn more!