The terrorist attacks on Paris were intended to disrupt the normal lives of everyone living in the Western World.
These attacks and the threat of future attacks will certainly bring a "new normal" to our everyday lives. Business practices are sure to change in response to attempts to thwart future attacks.This might be a good time to review your Disaster Plan, if you have one, or start preparing one if you don't.
What should you be prepared for?
- Accounting for your staff - Several companies tried to locate traveling employees who were scheduled to be in Paris at the time of the attacks. Families were frantically contacting the companies for status updates in a very chaotic time. There should be plans for communicating with employees while traveling.
- Communications breakdowns- Don't count on using cellular voice or messaging services. Government authorities have the capability to jam cell tower communications to prevent the use of cell phones to trigger explosive devices. Social media (Facebook & Twitter) may be effective alternatives if individuals are prepared in advance.
- Travel disruption-After the 9/11 Attacks, air travel was shutdown for days leaving travelers stranded. Rental cars were quickly sold-out. There were stories of travelers buying used cars to drive home and reselling later. Companies should think about how to bring key employees back if they get stranded.
- Continuity for customers- If you had to "shelter in place" for a few days (like happened after the Boston Marathon Bombing), would you still be able to service you key customers? What provisions could you pre-plan to assure uninterrupted supply or service?
- Reliability of supply chain- Are there plans you should make to assure your suppliers will be able to satisfy your needs?
- In-House communications- How should company announcements, plans, and news be communicated to employees during a disaster? Is there a web page or wiki where all official posts reside? If you don't clearly communicate the current news and plans, people will make up false stories and take action based on rumors. Timely sharing of the best available information is critical- if employees understand the overall plan, they can figure out the details themselves and react to changing conditions "on-the-fly."
You might consider including as many people as possible in your planning process.
For more information about preparing a business Disaster Plan, check out this Small Business Administration website,PrepareMyBusiness.org