Winter isn't over just yet. How would you cope if your workplace suffered a power outage?
By Kayla Matthews (Productivity Writer)
A lot of things can hamper productivity levels in your office. Some of them can be dealt with in a matter of seconds, such as social media distractions. Others take a bit more skill to handle, such as sudden power outages.
If severe winter weather or other electrical disturbances occasionally cause power outages at your office building, consider some of the following tips to make sure your team is prepared and can remain productive, even without power:
1. Install a UPS for Each Computer
A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is basically an alternative, emergency power source. When your computer's usual source of electricity fails, the UPS will quickly run your computer off its own battery. You can purchase either a standby or continuous UPS, depending on your needs.
If you're in the middle of saving files when the power interruption happens, a UPS is especially useful. However, note that it will buy you only a few extra minutes, at most. It's best to use those minutes to save your projects as fast as you can.
2. Create Both Online and Offline Backups for Files
Creating backups for your files (especially offline ones) is the best way to avoid the office-wide frustration of having to redo a 100-page report from scratch. Save copies of your files on your computer, on an external hard drive, or on a reliable cloud storage service like Dropbox and Google Drive.
3. Use Wi-Fi on Tablets
When you have a project due today that can't be rescheduled under most circumstances, a tablet can be a lifesaver. Either use mobile data from your personal plan, or go out of the office and continue your work in a Wi-Fi-friendly place, such as a coffee shop.
Keep in mind, however, that nothing is private on open Wi-Fi, so if you're working on a confidential project, know that it's best to put it off rather than risk having to deal with hackers.
4. Forward Calls to Mobile Phones
Your landline may not be accessible during a power outage, but your mobile phone is. If you’re expecting calls from partners or customers, forward calls from your landline to your mobile phone using the steps outlined here, or ask your landline telephone provider to do it for you.
Don't forget to account for the extra charges that can come with this extra service and be sure to protect your phone.
5. Finish Neglected Offline Tasks
If you have any tasks that you've been putting off for a long time, now's the time to do them.
Clear up your desk, files any hard copy papers that have been sitting around and, if all else fails, try to brainstorm some new ideas for projects or clients. You'll be surprised at how creative people can be when they don't have the option of electronics or the internet!
6. Have a Pen and Paper at Hand
Even if you barely use pen and paper anymore, they’re still handy when power interruptions happen and you have no other options for creating files. You can draft blog post outlines, plan company events and perform other work-related tasks that don't require a computer or tablet.
By the time the power comes back on, you'll have a stack of handwritten notes at your disposal, ready to be transformed into full-blown projects on your computer.
7. Allow Employees to Telecommute
If a blackout means your office won't be conducive for work in any way, send your employees home — under the condition that they'll continue their work there. Don't worry about them slacking off; there are ways to keep them accountable without intruding on their privacy.
As long as they do their job well, and maintain their professional integrity, a work from home day now and then never hurt anyone.
8. Have an Action Plan
While it might not make you more productive in the moment, knowing specifically what actions to take during a power outage will (hopefully) get your electricity turned back on in no time. Keep the phone number for your office’s electric company and any other relevant information about your electric provider handy so you can call quickly in the event of a blackout.
Whether they’re caused by bad weather, traffic accidents or just old circuit breakers, power interruptions don't have to become productivity interruptions. With resourcefulness, foresight and good sense, situations like these can be weathered in no time at all.
How have you handled power outages in your office?
Photo credit: BESTWEB via Shutterstock.
About the guest blogger: Kayla Matthews is a workplace productivity writer who relishes organization and a positive attitude. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to check out her latest posts, or find her at ProductivityBytes.com.