When an emergency happens in your business, no matter what it might be, your first instinct will most likely be to panic. The problem here is that panicking only leads to inaction, stress, anxiety, and can even lead to people being unsafe in your place of work. Since you need to save your business and the people within it (as well as members of the public), you cannot afford to panic. You must have a strategy in place to deal with the situation, whether it be a fire, a theft, an accident, a death, loss of reputation, cybercrime, or anything else that can occur.
Your response to the emergency will dictate how your business is seen in the future, or if there even is a business to work in and on at all. It will also be a lesson to your employees and visitors and will either enhance or destroy your reputation. So, it makes sense to have a contingency plan in place just in case something bad happens. Preferably, you will never have to use it, but it is better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it. Read on to discover some of the tips and useful information about staying calm when your business and the people within it are at risk.
Have the Knowledge
It is human nature to try to run from problems or to try to deal with them immediately without thinking. Neither of these options will be any good for you if there is an emergency in your business; you need to do something, and that something must not be rushed, but it must be done in a timely fashion. Getting the balance right when everyone around you is panicking and begging you to help is not going to be easy.
That’s why attending Wilfrid Laurier University to gain qualifications in emergency management is an excellent idea. You could take those qualifications and become an emergency management director, or you could simply use the skills you have learned, along with many others as a business owner, and use them to keep everyone safe in an emergency. There is no such thing as ‘too much knowledge’, and additional qualifications are never bad, so it could certainly be worth investigating.
The best thing that you can do in an emergency is nothing at all, at least to start with. This may be hard as you will want to act straight away but doing anything immediately means you haven’t had time to think. Instinct is a wonderful thing, and it does have its place, but when there is a business and people’s safety at stake, instinct should be ignored at the start.
Instead, you need to slow down and be patient. Gather as much information as you can about the situation. You should try to find out:
- What is happening
- Who is in danger
- How it started
- What the next action should be
- Can anything be done to stop the problem
Don’t think of yourself as an active participant in the emergency. Instead, you should be looking at it objectively, and with this new perspective, you can come up with a plan. It might have to be carried out immediately, such as would be the case if there was a fire, for example, or there might be time to come up with an entire plan, as would be the case if your computer network was corrupted. Again, stepping back will let you know exactly how fast you should act and how much of a plan needs to be in place before you do so.
Of course, staying positive is never going to be easy when an emergency arises in your business, but it is useful and can help you to focus on what you need to be doing. When you are stressed, your mind cannot focus; you will find that it shoots off in many different directions, and you can’t seem to get a good idea of what should be happening. In other words, you become extremely confused.
When you have an emergency, confusion is the last thing you should be thinking of – it could make or break your business. You need to be focused, and if that means thinking positively, then that is what you need to do. Don’t imagine the worst-case scenario, but instead think of how everything can get back to normal when it is all over. Even if your positive though can only focus on something very small, this is better than allowing negativity to take over and panic to set in.
‘What if’ is the worst question you can ask yourself in the middle of an emergency, although when everything is over it is a great question to ask because it will allow you to see where things went wrong (although in the case of accidents this might never be something you find out). If you ask what if too early, you will induce panic and fear, and when people are afraid, they behave unpredictably. If you want to take care of everyone, you need to keep them calm and keep yourself calm.
You might also ask what if about the situation itself because you aren’t sure which route to take next, or even what to do. Again, don’t allow your indecisiveness to affect anyone around you. If you really are having trouble determining a course of action, then speak to one person you trust and get their opinion. Don’t panic a whole crowd. Ideally, the contingency plans we mentioned earlier will cover step by step what should be done, making it easier for everyone.
Take Care of Your Body
Not all emergencies are something as imminently devastating as a fire, an accident, or even a death at work. Some will allow you more time to think of a solution, and although these might not seem so worrying, to begin with, the longer you have to deal with them, the worse it can get for you physically.
Imagine if you have a challenging situation to deal with at work. How would it make you feel? Would you be able to sleep? To eat? Would you be drinking too much caffeine and alcohol? Would you be neglecting your exercise because you are working on a solution? You might do all of these things or a combination of them. Whether taken in isolation or together, none of these are good for your health.
Your health is always going to need to be a priority when it comes to dealing with an emergency situation in your business. If you are not one hundred percent well, how will you be able to lead as you should? How will you be able to come up with the solutions that are required?
Therefore, no matter what, you should continue to exercise, eat a balanced diet, and try to sleep well. This may not be easy, but you must try. Sleep can be hard to come by when you are worrying. Still, various methods can help you, including taking a warm bath before bed, drinking herbal teas such as chamomile, trying meditation, or using essential oils like lavender on your pillow.
Ask for Help
You are the leader when it comes to your business, but that doesn’t mean you can do everything yourself. Unless you have to act immediately, take the time to think things through and, if need be, ask for help from a mentor if you have one, or a friend. Ask someone who can look at the situation objectively, and who isn’t going to be afraid to tell you just what you need to do.
Reaching out to these people whom you respect, and trust will not only give you answers but will also calm you. You’ll be doing something positive, and hopefully getting a positive result in return. You might even start to think of your own solutions as you share your problems, and that could be just what you need.
Again, this might not be possible in all situations, but if you can, then you should disconnect from everything and give yourself time to think. Step away from the situation, just for an hour or two, and come back to it with a clear mind and fresh perspective.
It may seem counter-intuitive if you need to get moving on a solution, but it will actually work well and give you a chance to reassess what is going in around you.
Have Your Own Coping Strategy
Remaining stressed for a prolonged period is extremely bad for you both physically and mentally. It could even cause long term damage, which, in most cases, is something that can easily be avoided with a good coping strategy.
Develop a coping ritual or strategy that you enjoy and even longer working hours or having to deal with work problems at the weekend will not seem quite so stressful. Your coping strategy can be anything at all that works for you, and there is no right or wrong way to go about this. You might, for example, choose to attend an early morning yoga class or to cook a meal from scratch, or to play a computer game, or to listen to music in the tub. Whatever works for you and calms you down is the best strategy.