How to Prepare Your Home Business for a Natural Disaster

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:

source: Thomas Good

No one wants to think about being in a hurricane, tornado, or fire, but bad things happen. While you may not know when a natural disaster is going to hit your home office (if ever), it’s important to be prepared to handle whatever comes your way.

Get it on film.

Videotape everything in your home office and the rest of your home. As you walk through your home, describe in detail everything you see. Start on one side of the room and work clockwise to make sure you film the entire room. Take the time to back up the video online.

Organize receipts.

Store receipts and warranty information from large purchases in a hanging file folder labeled “Purchases.” Within the folder, label interior folders (they’re cut lower than manila folders) “office equipment” and any other general category of purchases. Before you file a receipt, staple it to the warranty booklet for that item. In case an item is damaged, you’ll know where to find the receipt.

Back up, back up, back up

Back up your data often (at least weekly) and keep at least two copies. Actually, three copies is ideal. Store one copy in your office and two off-site. Some people put off backing up data, but finally take the time to do so after a disaster hits. Remember that your computer is easy to replace, while data is difficult and time-consuming to recreate.

Don’t let it burn.

Store important business and personal documents in your safe deposit box or in a fireproof file cabinet. Information ranging from insurance policies to investment information can be time-consuming to replace. You may not need to refer to the information often, but when you need it, you know it will be safe.

Protect important info.

Start a file labeled “Emergency Information” and keep it in a nearby file drawer. Inside it keep copies of your insurance papers, credit card numbers and other vital information that you would need easy access to in case of an emergency. It’s a good idea to store a duplicate file off-site in your safe deposit box.

Have enough coverage.

Don’t assume that your homeowner’s insurance covers your home office equipment. Many policies don’t, so you may need to purchase additional coverage. The time to find out whether or not you have enough insurance is before you need it.

Natural disasters from tornadoes to fires to hurricanes can be devastating both personally and professionally. Although you can’t control disasters, you can take steps to prepare for the unexpected.

How have you prepared your home office for a natural disaster?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office For Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.