This time I thought I would move onto another kind of disaster – your building is no longer available! This may be temporary as opposed to permanent but not having access to your building could mean not being able to help your clients if they have to come to you.
So what, if anything, can you do? Well, preparation is key. As always thing you need to have is information. Do you know who your insurer is? Do you know a range of tradespeople (plumber, gas engineer, electricians etc) who can come to help. Do you have contact details for all members of staff? An important point is that this information should be available even if you cannot get to your building – have you got a backup somewhere for this information?
At the very least you need to tell people that the building is not available and so you should have a list of upcoming appointments or renters. Will you be able to telephone, email and use social media to let people know?
It may be that your volunteers and workers can work from home. This is something that one organization was was able to do when they had a flood last year causing damage to some computers and severe problems with damp. Arrangements were in place so computer systems could be accessed remotely. Client records were available, along with case notes, contact details, materials and information that supported the charity’s work. Staff could then work from home by sending emails, telephoning using mobiles and met clients at their venue or a café rather than at the office. Some inconvenience but work was hardly interrupted.
Preferably you will have an alternative place that you can call on to use for your appointments or activities that you can tell them about. Have you explored alternatives in your area and made arrangements? You may not be able to carry on with a full service, but you may be able to take care of the urgent cases.
Lastly, a plan is necessary. Who is going to do what: contact staff, volunteers, insurers, repair people, clients and so on. With a little thought a lot can be done to make things easier on your organization and the people they help.