When a natural disaster occurs, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or snowstorm, the people in the middle of those events are affected in many adverse ways. Their lives are turned upside down in an instant, and they’re left having to put everything back together in the aftermath.

During this time, they will likely not be able to work for various reasons, such as lack of transportation, closed roads, or no Internet connectivity. If your employees are submitting timesheets for payroll, then their ability to get paid is dependent on their ability to access their timesheets – something a natural disaster may prevent them from doing.

Consider this story…

When Hurricane Irma struck Florida in 2017, the employees of one of Journyx’s customers, also located in Florida, were affected. This customer’s situation is much more complex, but to simplify the story, the employees log in and out times and submit timesheets for payroll. Because of the hurricane, however, many were unable to. This was obviously going to prevent them from getting their paychecks.

This story has a happy ending, though. In this situation, their administrators were out-of-state during the hurricane and were able to work with Journyx on a fix before the period was complete – allowing their employees to be paid on-time.

If your company has ever been through a similar situation, then I’m sure you learned many lessons that triggered the need to plan for any future events. Unforeseen as natural disasters are, there are several steps organizations can take to ensure critical business operations, such as payroll, continue with as little interruption as possible.

1. Make sure you have good employee information. Your company should already have personal and emergency contact information for all its employees – if you don’t, however, this is definitely an important step to take. This will give you several different avenues for contacting an employee in the event of a natural disaster. You’ll want to keep records of home and/or cell phone numbers, home addresses, contact information for spouses or other family members, and personal email addresses.

2. Have a business continuity plan. Even if you aren’t located in an area prone to certain natural disasters, it’s a good idea to have at least a basic plan in place that you can go to in case something happens. Some BCP plans take different scenarios into consideration, and are even taken a step further with walkthroughs to determine what will be done in each scenario. Overall, though, you’ll want to plan with these questions in mind:

  • How will employee safety be ensured?
  • How will employees get he help and resources they need?
  • How will certain critical business operations continue?

3.Use cloud-based applications. Cloud-based (aka web-based) software applications are pretty standard nowadays, and in the event of a natural disaster, can be lifesavers in terms of ensuring continuous operations (including paying employees). They will give you and your employees the ability to access any needed applications from anywhere. In the case of our customer in Florida, the employees were unable to access their timesheets – however, the administrators were able to access Journyx from where they were located. This enabled them to put the necessary fixes that Journyx recommended in place and process payroll on time.

4.Use mobile apps. In addition, having mobile apps installed on employee mobile devices for your most critical business applications will give employees an additional way to do things like:

  • Stay in contact with each other via calls, texts, and email.
  • access certain documents or other information they need.
  • Fill out and submit timesheets if they are unable to on their desktop device.

5.Have a backup administrator. In our customer story, the timesheet administrators happened to be out-of-state. This was fortuitous for them; however, you’ll want to have a plan for a backup in case you’re not as lucky. For instance, if you have any employees who work off-site, think of how they may be able to help facilitate continuous business operations if your location is struck by a natural disaster. Then, formulate a step-by-step plan and walk through it with your off-site employees.

By taking these critical planning steps, you can ensure smoother business operations during a natural disaster – and, more importantly, that your affected employees are well taken care of.