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Know when to tell your employees to stay home

As part of risk assessment, one factor you'll need to consider is whether or not it is safe for workers to come into the office, or to tell them to stay home.
As part of risk assessment, one factor you'll need to consider is whether or not it is safe for workers to come into the office, or to tell them to stay home.

A key part of business continuity planning is risk assessment. This means knowing what crises pose a threat to your company, and how to react accordingly to minimize the risk to your operations and employees. As part of risk assessment, one factor you'll need to consider is whether or not it is safe for workers to come into the office, or to tell them to stay home.

Most businesses have strong remote working policies in place already, with the advent of computers, cloud computing and other technology innovations providing opportunities for professionals to do their jobs from nearly anywhere. However, in some industries, this simply isn't possible. At this point, closing your doors till the storm passes, figuratively or literally, becomes a cost-benefit analysis.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to close your office or not. Roads and transportation may be safe, but does your building have available parking? What are the weather conditions expected to be during closing time? How far away do your employees live? These questions will all have to factor into the decision.

This problem was highlighted by the recent snowstorms in New England. Many companies in Massachusetts faced this exact problem as road crews worked to clear snow from major highways and city streets. Many companies in Boston, for example, were forced to tell their employees to stay home for three or four days in a row, as the roads and sidewalks around their offices simply weren't accessible.

For any company, one way to avoid this problem is to invest in a hot site as part of continuity planning. Having a potential hot site for employees to work from that is safer and more accessible than the normal office can minimize downtime during a crisis. Just make sure to make the same safety decisions in any disaster situation.

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