Prepare for the Unpreparable: A 10 Point Checklist

Beth Dean 03.02.16
Women Computing

A good business plan needs to prepare for the unpreparable. Sounds like a contradiction, right?

Here’s what it means: Sometimes in life, unexpected things happen. Extreme weather could knock down your office; a star employee could unexpectedly resign; a national economic crisis could jeopardize your ability to stay open.

All of these things and worse can and do regularly happen. While you can never fully prepare for emergencies or unexpected events, a well thought-out plan can mean the difference between business continuity and business failure.

Here’s a 10-point checklist to help you prepare for the unpreparable:

  1. Establish a business continuity team. This team should include your IT employees, at least one executive, and selected people from different departments to include differing viewpoints and priorities. 
  2. Create and schedule a planning session. Set a date and make it a priority to solidify your plan.
  3. Identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. Think about where disaster would hurt your business’s ability to keep going. What tasks do you have to complete, even if you don’t have access to the building?
  4. Establish a contingency plan. Sometimes, you won’t be able to complete your work using conventional methods. If you can’t access desktop computers, for example, a technology plan that includes remote access can still allow employees to get things done.
  5. Test, assess, revise, and finalize your plan. See what worked and what didn’t. Do a dry run and see where any holes may need to be filled.
  6. Publish your plan. Make it known to every employee and easily accessible. 
  7. Create an employee contact sheet. It’s a simple task, but in times of chaos, it’s difficult to keep up with every single employee. Include every employee’s name, phone/text, email, and emergency contacts. 
  8. Create a vendor and contractor contact sheet. It’ll be very useful to know who to contact for phone outages, server maintenance, building repair, and more.
  9. Establish multiple points of access for contact lists. Have lists ready in several different locations so that you can access it from your office, phone, and at home.
  10. Train your employees. Make sure all employees thoroughly practice the procedures so that when the times of emergency actually come, there’s no question of what to do.

For human resource guidance in preparing for the worst at your company, contact Nextep’s HR team.

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