Corporate home officing can be a critical component to disaster recovery and corporate business continuity planning. This is especially true when an organization is faced with a natural disaster, regional infrastructure improvement and resulting shutdown, or widespread illness or pandemic.

Telework and general work-at-home’s role in disaster preparation is an ongoing process. From equipping workers new to telework, to ensuring technology, data,?and the space are secured, disaster preparedness and business continuity are challenges that must be overcome to find success.

Before Hurricane Wilma hit in October 2006 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992, hurricane preparation meant storing water and boarding windows. With subsequent disasters, as well as infections or pandemics faced in 2020, business continuity planners know disaster preparation must extend beyond shutters, food stocks and generators.

Today, it must address and ensure business continuity, ranging from? communications, data back-up and document and records management, to fostering the mindset needed for newly-minted teleworkers to work remotely – often for the first time.

When considering how to prepare your corporate or home office for this transition, ask yourself these questions:

How does home office protection differ from that of the corporate office?

What lessons have been learned in recent disasters that can influence or improve home office disaster protection?

What technology that’s widely available can help home officers smooth the transition from outage to productivity?

How can I get my home office – or telework team – back up and running with minimal disruption?

FACING CALAMITY? PLAN FOR THE WORST, HOPE FOR THE BEST

Is your home-based enterprise ready for any disaster? Review this checklist

Put the family first. Business protection is key, but the family comes first. Ensure your family is safe and residence is secure before protecting the business space.

Plan. Set aside a few days NOW to plan how your company will react to any threat – whether a hurricane, a wildfire, windstorm, earthquake, or even theft. Review the plan frequently as needs and conditions change.

Generators. In hurricane zones, power is essential. A portable, 7,500-watt unit can power lights, computers and a small air conditioner. A 15,000-watt unit can power much of a home’s essential appliances, including those above and the air conditioner and refrigerator.

Communications. Expect landlines might be down following a disaster. Satellite phones can ensure phone service. VoIP, or voice over Internet protocol, allows access to phone service from any Internet connection worldwide.

Wireless Internet. If cellular signals are maintained following a disaster, a wireless broadband Internet card can ensure a connection to the World Wide Web. Cost: About $50 for the card, and $60 a month for service.

Back up and pack up. Back up all data to a portable hard drive, flash drive, CD-ROM or tape drive. Wrap it in plastic and remove it from the home office. Consider a Web-based back-up solution. Unplug, wrap in plastic and stash computers and other pricey tech hardware.

Build your “black box.” This waterproof box or weather resistant briefcase should include insurance and corporate documents, data back-ups, and other vital business records.

Are you ready to telework – or work on the fly – if a disaster strikes? Be prepared. Plan for the worst. Hope for the best.