How Your Business Can Help Employees Impacted By Hurricanes

By | HR Effectiveness | Leave a comment


In the midst of Hurricane season, with Harvey, Irma, and soon Jose barreling down on southern US with record setting damage, how can impacted businesses help their employees “weather the storm”?

Keep in mind companies don’t have to be in the storm’s path in order to be negatively affected, financially or otherwise. Regardless of where your organization is physically located, if you conduct business with consumers or B-to-B, you may share in the pain of those actually situated in hurricane-prone areas.

If your business is in or near a hurricane’s path, in advance of the storm you should do the following in preparation:

  1. Set up a communication chain so employees know how they can keep in touch with each other and corporate. Consider using text, cell, email, and social media.
  2. Adjust work hours as necessary.
  3. If possible, extend PTO days to accommodate necessary absences.
  4. Management should minimize the number of mandatory workers required for mission critical customer support or other absolutely necessary business services.
  5. Communicate office closings to clients, partners, and others as appropriate.
  6. If feasible, set up shelters in your building(s) for displaced employees.
  7. Stock shelters with emergency food and supplies.
  8. Arrange carpools for required evacuations, particularly for single workers with no dependents. Safety in numbers.
  9. Encourage employees, whose homes or apartments lie outside of the storm line, to offer temporary shelter to those hardest hit.
  10. Donate to worthy agencies and services (Red Cross, etc.).

If your business (or satellite offices) are located outside of the storm range, but are still impacted, here are some suggestions to help in a hurricane emergency:

  1. Donate to worthy agencies and services (Red Cross, etc.).
  2. If you are just outside of the storm area, and can provide shelter, arrange bus/van services for employees to/from each location.
    • Provide the same for larger clients and/or partners if feasible.
  3. If practical, temporarily take over the services or tasks from impacted employees.
  4. Constantly monitor news about the storm, and provide any support possible as needed.

It is certainly recommended that everyone should contribute to disaster relief as generously as possible; regardless of whether you are affected (you could be a victim of a future storm). However, companies with impacted employees often have resources to directly support the workforce. Please consider any and all ways your business can provide support and relief to your valuable employees. Events like these need people/businesses/employees to work together to help prepare for and then recover from the disaster. Click here for donate to the American Red Cross relief efforts.