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How Important is Telecommuting? Try Working Through A Hurricane!

Now that Hurricane Irene is history – except for the mess she left behind – a mess that’s STILL being cleaned up in some places, I have a new appeciation for telecommuting! Since all of our employees work from home (including Jessica in North Carolina and Kristen in New Hampshire), we were able to maintain at least basic service on the the day after Irene made her trip up the eastern seacoast. And I have to say that I really hate to think of what would have happened if we were all located in one physical office that lost power and internet. Consider this:

By Sunday night/Monday morning, the hurricane had left the northeast and was heading for that place where bad storms go when they’re ready to die. (Hmmm… is there really a place comparable to Hell for natural disasters?). Anyway, hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses were left without power, internet access, etc.

Although we were not up to full service until that Tuesday afternoon, we were able to provide critical services to our clients from the start of business on Monday morning. How was that possible when so many of our clients were without phone/internet? It’s because all of our employees telecommute! As a result, although some of our staff were without power for several days, we had enough employees in diverse areas that were able to login and answer the phones, schedule the appointments, and provide the critical services to our clients.

THE TAKE AWAY: If you don’t have full remote functionality for off-site employees, consider enabling at least a percentage of your staff to work at home on a regular basis so that you can be prepared for the inevitable. (Trying to create a telecommuting policy and setting up the necessary technology at the last minute is probably not the best idea!)

And as a tip to our brothers and sisters in the IT service industry, what better argument can there be for solid off-site data backup, given the number of businesses who’s physical locations were literally destroyed in the path of the hurricane.

If you have questions about how to be prepared for these types of disasters, give me a call – even if you’re not planning on using Daybreak. I’ll be happy to give you some pointers about remote services and staffing that I’ve picked up over the years – no charge! Or maybe you would like to share some of your thoughts and experiences with the rest of us? If you were in the path of the storm, how did you make out? Now that you’ve had time to reflect, what would you have done differently? Feel free to share!

Until the next storm!!

Jeff Mehl
Daybreak Virtual Staffing