If you’ve reached this this post, it likely means there is a massive snowstorm heading your way. Some of you may want to work from home to avoid shoveling your car out of the driveway. But is your company ready to have you work from home during a heavy snowstorm?
Fear not, we’ve got you covered.
When a company is about to face harsh weather conditions, it’s best to have an emergency checklist equivalent to the “bread, milk, and toilet paper” list. For your convenience, we’ve put together this basic list of technology and virtual work issues to address before the storm hits.
❏ Golden rules: Assign someone specific to monitor your IT during this time. Test any system or technology that staff will rely on when working remotely.
❏ Power: Stay current on your building’s power usage. Have contact information of the utility companies or building management handy should you experience power outages.
❏ Equipment: Plan on keeping key equipment warm in case the power goes out. Please note: computer equipment does not survive well in cold conditions. Take sensitive equipment home if you can do so safely and securely.
❏ Network: Have the contact information of your hosting provider or Managed Services Provider (Quikteks number: (973) 882-4644).
❏ Backup: Make sure you back up all systems before you leave the office. Confirm that any data hosted on servers outside your control (cloud hosting and/or systems hosted by vendors) are also backed up.
❏ Phone and email:
• Forward personal extensions to cellphones or instruct staff to set call forwarding on their phones.
• Instruct staff to change their voicemail greeting and email auto-reply to reflect working conditions.
• Set expectations with staff for checking voicemail and email.
• Print remote access instructions for the network and phone system along with the IT support phone number on a double-sided business card. Distribute these cards to all staff.
❏ Temporary document storage: Tell staff how to temporarily store files in case the network is unavailable.
❏ Passwords: Make sure staff knows their own passwords for network access, voice mail, and other systems. If any individuals need password resets, do them now.
❏ Communication with staff: Develop a phone tree to communicate office conditions.
❏ Communication with the outside world: Keep the main company voice mail updated with current conditions and how to contact staff. Use social media accounts as appropriate to provide updates.
❏ IT support: Establish who is going to be on call to help staff working remotely. Be ready to field help desk calls.
If working from home:
• Have a list of staff and key member contacts, including cellphone numbers, email addresses, and any other contact info you may need, like IM or social media usernames.
• Have written instructions on how to access the network , email, voicemail, instant messaging, web conferencing, and IT support remotely.
❏ Make sure you have all your passwords (and they work—request resets now if they don’t):
• Remote desktop
• SaaS accounts that may normally just be stored in your web browser (social media accounts, for example)
❏ Phone and email:
• Set up out-of-office messages (phone and email) informing people about the situation, your anticipated availability, and alternate ways to reach you or otherwise get help in urgent situations.
• Forward your work phone to your cellphone.
• Know how to turn your cellphone into a hotspot in case you lose WiFi at home.
• Check your voicemail and email often.
❏ Computer: Bring a laptop home with your necessary files on the local hard drive—remember to move them back to the network when you return to the office. Make sure your laptop is fully charged. Don’t ever leave your laptop or other equipment in your car—bring them inside with you.
❏ Power: Charge your power packs ahead of time so you can recharge your cellphone and other devices.
❏ Grab A Blanket: Stay warm!