Disaster preparedness is a crucial component of success for all businesses, including community associations and their management companies. From mundane scenarios like planned water shut offs or unexpected loss of power to natural disasters like coastal hurricanes and midwestern earthquakes, it’s important to plan ahead.
But that planning and the interim preparation that should come with it (consistent training and plan updates) can be a huge time commitment – for your boards and your managers. Finding the time to schedule plan reviews, training modules, and document maintenance is tedious. Virtual Employees (VEs) can be a big help to you before, during, and after disasters.
An Extra Set of Hands
A Virtual Employee (VE), or virtual assistant is a great asset when it comes to organization and maintenance. So, it makes sense that for a long-term project like a business continuity plan, a virtual employee is an ideal solution. VEs can help with planning by:
- Managing complicated training and review scheduling for board members
- Assisting in the ongoing maintenance of the disaster preparedness plan(s)
- Creating checklists for each phase of the disaster recovery process
Skip the Scheduling Nightmares
You know how your board members can be – many are in their golden years, galivanting off on trip after trip. Sure, they get together occasionally for the required board meetings, but even those can be held remotely now. Scheduling between multiple concurrent vacations can be dicey, and when your team is spread across the country (or worldwide!), it can be challenging to find time for extra meetings.
Still, maintaining a disaster plan is an important step for the company's overall safety. A VE can create a schedule that outlines when each community’s disaster plan will be reviewed and updated and ensure that all board members are made aware of the schedule once it’s finalized. That way, your boards can either plan ahead and schedule travel time around those meetings or work with the VE to negotiate a new meeting time.
Maintain Your Documents
Having a plan is important, but so is maintaining that plan safely and consistently. A VE can attend each of the scheduled review meetings that the plan to help facilitate any changes that need to be made and streamline the document maintenance process.
They can also be tasked with ensuring the documentation is accessible by all necessary parties – that’s not just board members. Any sort of information that residents might need can easily be generated by a VE:
- Disaster prep supplies checklists
- Evacuation routes and maps to buildings delegated by local officials as evacuation centers
- Up-to-date contact information for board members, community managers, and local and state officials
Ensuring that someone has eyes on this information and is diligently keeping it as updated as possible is the best way to guarantee accurate information and assistance is available when an emergency occurs.
Minimize Recovery Time
Virtual Employees or virtual assistants are often very efficient at helping you plan ahead so that any disruption to your business as a result of a natural disaster will be minimal.
This starts in the planning and preparation phase. Not only can a VE maintain business continuity documents, but they can also help create some of them. For example, a VE can create checklists of assigned duties that each board member needs to handle in the event of certain emergencies.
This can be as simple as making phone calls to residents reminding them of scheduled maintenance that could impact their electricity or water, or as complex as coordinating with local energy providers due to dangerous downed power lines. Whatever the task lists look like, knowing which person is responsible for what tasks will be critical in keeping the community calm and progress moving when a disaster happens.
Also, because they are remote employees, VEs likely won’t be impacted by localized crises like natural disasters, making them ideal to assist in ways those in the thick of it cannot. When a community is forced to evacuate due to flash floods, a VE can be available and ready to field phone calls and emails from scared residents, removing that burden from equally frightened board members.
Let a VE Simplify Your Disaster Preparedness
Being prepared for a disaster is vital to any business. It's also something that can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially if you're just starting out on a board and have never had to deal with emergencies before.
But VEs aren’t just great for your board members’ disaster prep planning – a VE can help management companies in the same ways. That's why we suggest using virtual employees for ALL your disaster preparedness plans, whether they’re for your communities or for your management company.
A virtual employee is there to keep everything running smoothly during an emergency event – for everyone. Click here to schedule your 30-minute consultation today to learn more about how a HireSmart Virtual Employee can streamline your next disaster prep meeting.