Disaster Recovery: What would you do if your office was out of bounds?
Snow, floods and storms ΓÇô winter weather can pose a threat to small businesses. So how would you keep your business running if your office was temporarily out of bounds?
For most of us, the gale force winds of last week provided an unwelcome reminder of just how extreme our winter weather can be. And of course, while disasters can occur any time of year, winter increases the likelihood of certain types of problems, like snow or storms.
Larger companies will have comprehensive disaster recovery plans in place in the event of fire, flood or other emergencies which cause their offices to close. But what about smaller businesses ΓÇô how would you keep your business up and running?
Find temporary office space
Temporary office space is the obvious short-term solution. Serviced offices will provide you with a similar setup to your usual working environment, while the fact that theyΓÇÖre ready furnished and equipped with internet and telecoms systems makes it easy for you to move your business in and get up and running quickly. In some cases, you can move into your temporary office space on the same day or next day after signing your agreement.
WhatΓÇÖs more, you wonΓÇÖt need to take out a lengthy lease. While the typical minimum licence agreement is three months, you will find licences starting from as short a term as a single month. And if you find that work to fix your regular offices takes longer than expected, thereΓÇÖs usually the option to extend your rental period.
For most small businesses, the easiest way to find flexible office space at short notice is by using an office broker. If youΓÇÖre not used to searching for office space, you might have to make a dozen or more calls to different business centres to see if they can accommodate you. A broker, on the other hand, has an overview of the complete office market which means they should know which business centres can accommodate you ASAP.
And while you let your broker get to work, you can continue making any other arrangements you need to keep your business up and running.
Switch to co-working or homeworking
If your employees have laptops and access to a shared network, then co-working or homeworking┬á could be viable alternatives to keep your business up and running.
Co-working space will provide you and your employees with a professional business environment in which to work. Just like being in your regular office, youΓÇÖll have a desk, high-speed internet and access to facilities like printing and photocopying. Of course, youΓÇÖll be working alongside other businesses in a shared space, but this could be an opportunity to make some new business contacts. Maybe you could even turn an inconvenience into something more positive.
Homeworking, on the other hand, is a particularly good option if extreme weather like heavy snow or floods is likely to make it difficult for workers to travel to an alternative office location.
Whether you opt for co-working or homeworking (or perhaps a mix of both depending on individual employee circumstances), video calling facilities like Skype are a useful way to bring your team together. So you can still work on projects and share ideas even if, for the time being, you donΓÇÖt share an office.
Be prepared ΓÇô just in case
Of course, we all like to think it wonΓÇÖt happen to our business. But as we found out back in November 2010 when a small fire closed parts of officebroker HQ, you can never be certain. So it really is worth being prepared and knowing what youΓÇÖd do to keep your business up and running.
We hope you and your business stay safe this winter. But remember to have a plan in place, just in case.