So you got past Hurricane Irma unscathed
If you were one of us in Florida that went through Hurricane Irma, we hope that you and your families are safe.
Ironically, I wrote in July about being prepared for hurricanes and other disasters, so I felt the need to recap some things I recommended, and how ComRes fared.
Business Continuity – We had a plan for if our office was shut down.
- Move to the Cloud – Our service management systems, phone numbers and email are all in the cloud, so we were still able to operate even when our office was forced to close.
IT Systems– Though some of our applications and data are not in the cloud, we have them backed up. We also have a plan to have all critical applications and data moved to the cloud by the end of 2018. We did not lose any data.
Hurricane Preparedness Procedures – ComRes had a plan for the hurricane. We dusted it off at the beginning of the season and met to go over it, add to it, and guess what? We missed things. So we are documenting what we missed, how we could have shut down our office more efficiently, and will meet in the coming months to update this plan. As a service company, we got out an email to customers alerting them of our plans, and letting them know to contact us early if they needed assistance.
Employees – ComRes struggled to find balance between being a premium services provider and a company that cares for its employees and their families. We are fortunate to have one of the finest staffs of service-oriented employees in South Florida. We asked a lot of our employees to help service our customers, but also asked them what they needed from us, such as time to prepare their households and get supplies.
In the end, I could not be more proud of our employees – they went above-and-beyond to help service our customers, even while they were installing shutters and buying supplies. I was overwhelmed by how they also chipped in to help each other get shutters up, sharing supplies, and just being there for each other. We created a WhatsApp group for them for the hurricane so everybody could post how they were doing, if they needed assistance, etc. As well as I felt we did, we are still going to sit down when things return to normal and find out what we could have done better.
So what could have been done better?
– Move to the Cloud – Obviously moving everything to the cloud would have preserved all of our business functions and freed up time that we used to shut down our office and open it back up. This time could have been used for employees to prepare better, or for us to service more customers.
– The Human Factor/Expect the Unexpected – The one thing that is difficult to plan for is the human factor, or unexpected issues. A key employee resigned before the hurricane leaving us short-staffed. Two other key employees got sick right after the hurricane, leaving us without enough support staff to respond to all service calls timely. Some employees were impacted by the hurricane and could not return to work right away.
The bottom line – have a plan, review it periodically, make improvements to it, and practice implementing it so you are ready….and expect the unexpected!