Today’s workforce is a mobile workforce. Part of your organization probably works from home, or offsite, or after hours, from anywhere they can get a WiFi connection.
Even if all of your employees work onsite, you have established procedures for dealing with data and personnel in the face of a disaster. When remote workers or contractors make up a faction of your business operations, these protocols need to extend to them.
As an organization, it’s your responsibility to put vital information in the hands of all of your workers, onsite or not. That’s where mobile crisis communication plans come in handy. Mobile apps and capabilities are tools to help you get out ahead of a critical situation. Here’s what you need to know to prepare a mobile workforce in the event of a disaster.
Plan a Strategy for Remote Data
When people work from home or offsite, data follows them. Do you have systems in place to perform remote backups? You might use a cloud-based storage system for file sharing and saving data. Be sure to frequently back-up important data to the cloud. You don’t want your only copy of a file to be on a password-protected, offsite laptop or drive. Use a system that can quickly update input information, so that no one is working off old data and incorrect assumptions.
Plan to Send Critical Actions Through Mobile Phone
Mobile phones are one of the most important and abundant sources of information in a crisis. Plan to use them to send and receive actionable information. Many platforms, like AtHoc Alert, will allow you to send bi-directional alerts in a single click with rich media including videos, images, texts and maps. Make sure you use these capabilities to plot important actionable information like evacuation routes or critical coordination plans.
Minimize Use of Unsecured Devices
If you’re in a position to do so, you may want to provide all employees with company phones. Even though this is an additional expense, it can cut down on company data risk. When everyone is using devices that have passed your organization’s security standards, you’ll minimize the possibility of data breaches.
Plan Secondary Internet and Mobile Connectivity Sources
Instruct your remote workers on how to connect to you in the case of Internet outages. That may be through using their own smartphones as hotspots, going to a public location to connect with a mobile device, or finding a way to use a VPN to connect into your secure organizational network. Test your internet connections and cable modems frequently, so that your offsite and onsite teams have as robust a connection as possible.
Create Style Guides and Templates
You’ll want your mobile workforce to send speedy responses and check-ins when they’re on-the-go. As a result, having preconfigured templates and uniform communication styles is key. Make sure all remote workers understand the types of communications preferred by the team, any acronyms and naming conventions, and are uniform. Without a style guide, remote workers may cause more confusion by sending out contradictory communications or misunderstanding instructions.
Plan Realistic Alternatives to Onsite Policies
Your remote workers may feel removed from your company culture, and may even feel less likely to adhere to instructions from headquarters. Make sure you consider them when planning for disaster recovery. If safety protocols aren’t realistic for someone who is offsite, enact realistic, reasonable alternatives. If they’re working from home, for example, they can’t report to an onsite location for physical check-ins. In that case, a mobile check-in is a realistic alternative.
Establish a Point of Contact for People in the Field
Establish a robust operations center so that people in the field can report quickly to your management team. This may take the form of a few key personnel who make themselves available for any incoming messages, questions, or check-ins.
With remote workers, there’s always an element of trust. You must prepare for the fact that you won’t be able to micromanage or oversee every aspect of what’s going on out in the field. Establishing consistent mobile communication policies around emergencies can build trust and clarity.
Emergencies aren’t limited to headquarters. AtHoc’s industry-leading mobile capabilities cut response times and save lives. Learn more.