Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those Who Work from Home

There is no doubt that Hurricane Sandy made an impact on people from all walks of life along the Eastern seaboard. Many homes, businesses and places of work faced (and some still are facing) being without power-- and the big question is how soon things can get back to up and runningas many workers stay home. But what about the unique position of those that work from home? How do they get up and running? While Hurricane Sandy may have been a terrible disaster, it has also been a powerful teacher on emergency preparedness for many people in more ways than one.  

Emergency preparedness is a must no matter what the weather phenomenon.  If you work from home and were stuck in the path of Hurricane Sandy, you're probably learning, albeit trial by fire.  But for work from home employees that don't want to be prepared, consider these tips:

The number one priority is to do your best to stay connected. While there are a number of things that can work against you on this, you are less likely to be completely immobilized if you have a hand crank charger to charge your cell or smart phone with when the electricity is completely out. These typically come with a number of USB cords and can charge an array of electronic device. They may also come with an LED flashlight, radio  and other handy extras.  

A hotspot for getting on the internet. (Another idea is to head to a venue where there is free wi-fi-- if possible.)

Laptop computer—and extra batteries for it. 

A charging cable for phones and laptops that can be plugged into a car. If your car isn't under water or in a tree, this can be extremely helpful.

A set of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to work some place that is not so quiet—whether it is at an internet cafĂ© or hiding out at a relative's house for the time being. 

USB drives. Helpful for backing up important files or transferring files between your devices or printer. 

Portable printer and a backup battery. Don't forget ink cartridges!

Printer paper. In a waterproof/tear-proof bag. 

Portable scanner. Not always necessary for every work from home job but still…

Plastic bags of all shapes and sizes and a case for carrying all your essentials. In the event you have to be on the move in inclement weather you likely won't want all your stuff getting soggy. (And a case with wheels makes a lot of sense, no?)

A power strip with surge protector. Even if you're lucky enough to have the power back on, who knows how stable it could be.  

Because the type of work from home jobs that are out there can vary, this list may be all you need or it may be lacking in certain "supplies". While it is no one's hope to be in such a situation, don't wait to figure out be what would make your own list complete. Getting back to life and making it a smooth transition is one of the best ways to lessen the trauma of going through such a trying time. 

To all those affected by Sandy, it does and can get better. It will. Life always finds a way.


A Hurricane Ike survivor