Hurricane Sandy will go down in history for its wide-scale devastation. And our thoughts go out to the millions of businesses and individuals heartbreakingly impacted by this disaster.
We’ll likely be hearing about Sandy for weeks and months to come.
But for those of us only tangentially impacted by this crisis, now’s a good time to take a few steps in Finance and throughout your company to not only help minimize confusion and even help your own people do a little good for others in your community or the Northeast in general during this terrible time.
3 strategies for right now
Here are three steps you can take in the coming days and weeks to handle what’s happening now and lay the groundwork for what may come in the future:
Revisit your emergency communications plan. Maybe folks need to call in to a special number or perhaps you call them. But as this storm knocked out so many power and phone lines, chances are many people didn’t get vital information passed to them. That’s why you want to make sure you never rely on a single form of communication.
Instead, in addition to having both land line and cell phone numbers for staffers, keep a preferred email for them (it may not be their work one – something like gmail may be more reliable especially if your server goes down). That way you have multiple chances to reach folks.
Take the consequences out of it. The last thing you want is people risking life and limb to get to the office in unsafe conditions because they’re worried about being docked a day. Yes, closing will cost your company money and an entire day of productivity is a huge loss. But you don’t want employees to feel pressured by supervisors to risk their safety.
Some of your peers were sure to include in their messages to employees that while the hope was that they could make it into the office, it was understood if that wasn’t possible people would not be charged a PTO day for missing work.
Find ways for folks to help. The stories coming out of New York and New Jersey are heartbreaking. And likely there’s little else people will be talking about for a while. Organizing anything from a clothing drive to a food drive or even collecting office supplies for local businesses that were hard hit by Sandy will need. That helps people feel less helpless and shows them your company’s humanitarian side.
Another option: Offering to match any donations they make to Sandy-relief efforts. Be sure to warn staffers too – many phony charities pop up after a tragedy like this one. Encourage folks to stick with well-known organizations like The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.