Experiencing a power outage at your business can be much more than a nuisance. Not only can your business lose time and money during an outage, but you can also suffer longer-term impacts on your data and equipment and encounter employee-safety issues. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your office is prepared in the event you lose power.
Have a Backup (Power) Plan
Unfortunately, the first time many business owners think about implementing a backup power plan is in the middle of an outage. So instead of having a would have, could have, should have moment when the lights go out, take time now to prepare your business by installing a backup power source.
Just as you might at your home, you can add a generator to your building that will kick in when the power fails. This can help you avoid disruptions to your operations while keeping your equipment and personnel safe. If you opt for a permanent generator, it will often be wired directly into your building’s electrical system. This type of generator will then switch on and off automatically in reaction to the loss and subsequent restoration of power, freeing you up to focus on other concerns.
If your building’s power comes from a solar energy system, the impact of a public electricity outage can be minimized. Even if you don’t run entirely on solar during normal operations, by using solar panel battery storage you may have enough energy socked away to power you through an outage. Depending on the size of your battery system, you could operate for days on the electricity that has been stored.
Protect Your Data and Equipment
As a smart step in safeguarding your data and equipment, your computers and other devices should be plugged in through surge protectors. As their name implies, surge protectors can shield your equipment from damage that can result from the sudden voltage shifts that may occur when power is both lost and restored. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to turn off and disconnect any equipment and appliances as soon as an outage occurs.
It’s also a good idea to store important company data offsite in the cloud, as opposed to keeping everything on local computer hard drives. Not only will this ensure against losing critical files that are being used the moment a power outage occurs, but it also means that all of your data will be available to you as soon as power is back on. It will also allow employees to access important information remotely in the event that an outage goes on for an extended period of time and you aren’t able to resume normal operations immediately.
Prepare Your Employees
Be sure your employees are ready to react properly to a power outage by creating plans and engaging in drills ahead of any such instances. Everyone should be familiar with your building’s floor plan so they can access exits safely from any location. Teach staff things like how to access emergency equipment, disconnect devices, manually operate secured doors, etc. It’s also a good idea to designate one or two individuals as leaders who can direct others in the event of an outage.
You should also have an emergency kit on hand in the event that an outage is caused by a natural disaster that will prohibit people from leaving the building right away. Flashlights and first aid supplies are a good starting point, and it’s wise to have bottled water and nonperishable food on hand. Blankets, extra batteries and charged cell phones should also be in your kit.
By thinking ahead, you can make sure your business is well-prepared in the event of a power outage. Having a plan in place for protecting your data, your equipment and your employees, as well as installing a backup power system, can go a long way toward ensuring that you will safely and smartly handle an office power failure.