Although spring and summer bring with them their own weather problems, including wildfires and hurricanes, winter can be especially nasty. While a fire or hurricane can threaten business continuity for several days, winter storms can stretch on for weeks–even months. We pulled the following common winter dangers straight from NOAA:
- Wind – Some winter storms have extremely strong winds that can create blizzard conditions with blinding, wind-driven snow, drifting, and dangerous wind chills. These intense winds can bring down trees and poles, and cause damage to homes and other buildings.
- Snow – Heavy snow accumulations can immobilize a region, strand motorists, stop the flow of supplies, and disrupt emergency services. Buildings may even collapse, and trees and power lines can be destroyed by heavy snow.
- Ice – Ice-covered roads make for dangerous driving conditions. Car wrecks can bring down objects like trees, utility poles, and communication towers. Winter can disrupt power for days before utility companies can repair the damage.
Winter weather can disrupt everyday life and business operations for days, even weeks. Is your company ready? Do you have the systems in place to keep your employees informed during a winter event? If email is your go-to, can you use it effectively to reach your employees who don’t have power? Can you be certain every employee will get your messages? These are the questions you need to be asking as you approach the winter season.
Remaining Resilient During Dangerous Winter Weather
Perhaps one bright spot with winter storms is that they are generally predictable. Unlike a tornado, businesses can plan for winter weather days ahead of time. The downside is that severe winter storms can last for days and cause damage that takes weeks to repair. Your employees need a place to find up-to-date information about how the weather is affecting your business.
AlertMedia addresses this problem through an innovative feature called Event Pages. An Event Page is a real-time information hub to link companies with their employees during any event, particularly a crisis or ongoing situation where the flow of information is constant. This allows you to direct your employees to a single web-page where they can find the most up-to-date information.
Instead of sending out lengthy messages each time there is an update, create an Event Page around each event. Whether it be a blizzard, power outage, road closure, or office closure, this will put all of the related information in one place–with no limits to message length. Employees visit a single page where they can find updates, photos and videos, pertinent documents, and even moderated employee comment streams.
While an Event Page may not enable an organization to get the power turned on or roads cleared any faster, it can ensure employees stay connected and informed in real time. When the business is able to open again, employees will be ready. Organizations can use Event Pages to stay resilient and responsive, even when others are still trying to understand the situation.
What An Event Page Can Do
Think of an Event Page like a social media page, dedicated strictly to a single event. The page can be named “January 2018 Winter Storm,” for example. An administrator can quickly set up the page from their AlertMedia dashboard and automatically send every affected employee a message with a link directing them to the Event Page. Admins can then update the page continuously without having to send a new notification every time something changes.
When employees receive the notification, all they have to do to see the updates is click on the provided link. They are immediately directed to the “January 2018 Winter Storm” event page. There, employees can see admin updates, photos, videos, and other helpful information. They are always in the know as to what is going on and what steps they should take. Employees can submit feedback, comments, photos, and videos for administrators to review, and optionally post to the page.
You can also include advice, such as safety tips for working in cold weather, or information on the steps your business is taking to prepare for the storm.
Best practices dictate that administrators should stay in touch with power companies, news outlets, weather radars, and traffic maps, then post any updates to the page. Instead of employees having to find this information themselves, everything is in one place. This saves everyone time and guarantees all employees are getting the same information.
Best In Class
Best in class companies use multiple channels to communicate with their employees. Milliman, Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of actuarial and related products and services, is one such company. “Event pages make it easy for us to keep our employees informed of rapidly changing situations that might not be urgent enough to warrant a phone call or text message,” says Michael Huard, the IT Support Manager for Milliman.
As a global company, Milliman’s offices each face their own unique weather challenges. Each office manager serves as an administrator, allowing them to set up office-specific event pages when local weather is affecting the business. “In the winter, when there is a power outage or office closure, we send out a notification up front, then refer people to an event page for continuous updates,” Michael explains. “This minimizes stress on our staff and systems, and doesn’t bog down our employees with constant alerts every time there’s an update.”
Want to learn more about how AlertMedia can keep your employees safe this winter?