When trying to return to a state of normalcy after a disaster, there are many moving parts. Although resuming business operations quickly may seem like the best thing to do, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that your employees, customers and business partners are all on the same page and your facility is safe.
Master the Art of Communication
It's important to communicate clearly and concisely to let everyone know the current status of your company and your plans for moving forward. The best way to ensure consistency of your message is to appoint one individual to communicate across all media platforms. Ideally, this message should come from top management.
Employees – Notify employees through social media, emergency notification systems, 800 numbers and company websites about any changes in business hours or office relocations. Remember, depending on the type of disaster, Internet and phone lines may be down, so the more ways you can get your message out, the better.
Customers – Even if none of your operations are affected, notify customers of your status. This is especially important if your customer base covers a large geographic area, as some areas may be affected, while others are not.
Suppliers and Vendors – Ask business partners for their flexibility and understanding after a disaster. They may be able to provide critical equipment or software, or be willing to set up alternative billing or delivery options until your business is back on its feet.
Government Agencies and Regulatory Authorities – You may need approvals for resuming occupancy or rebuilding after a disaster. You're not alone, so it's important to communicate regularly with state or municipal agencies to ensure your approvals are moving along.
Funding Sources – File any insurance claims immediately. If you are a Chubb policyholder, you can rest assured that our team will respond as quickly as possible so you can get back to your business. Click here to begin the claims process. If you need additional funding, you may want to contact your financial institution to activate a secured line of credit or to access an emergency fund.
Be Safe, Not Sorry
Sometimes damage to a building may not be apparent. It's crucial to ensure your facility is structurally stable and devoid of hazardous conditions before employees or customers return. These simple steps can help you re-open for business.
Follow the Road to Re-Occupancy
If your facility is not yet ready to occupy, these steps may help facilitate any repairs or reconstruction:
Provide Human Resources
Even though your building may pass all safety codes and your employees are physically able to return to work, disasters exact an emotional toll that may make it difficult for people to adjust. Here are some tips to help your employees cope with post-disaster stress:
For more information about disaster response, go to www.fema.gov or contact your local Chubb Loss Control Services Risk Engineer.