Nine Tips for PR Pros Working From Home During #Sandy

Image: The Weather Channel

Hurricane Sandy finally barreled into the East Coast, leaving millions of people without power. But for those who are lucky enough to still have electricity, it's still business as usual, even if business is temporarily being conducted from the home.  

Here are nine work-survival tips for PR pros working from home in the aftermath of Sandy:

  1. Set up a Dropbox folder with team members: If you need to share important documents with team members, you're at risk if your company's internal server fails. As a backup option, set up a Dropbox folder to save all your documents to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. Dropbox makes it easy to share documents, and lets you work from any computer or phone with the confidence that you'll always have everything you need.  

  2. Print important documents: If you lost your power, it will likely be the end of business as usual for most. But if there's something pressing that you must work on, print out whatever you need before your power cuts off.  

  3. Communicate early: Try to set up a plan early that won't require too many follow-up conference calls or e-mail chains, since everyone's workflow will inevitably be different while at home. 

  4. Be sensitive if pitching the media: Your finely tuned local-market media relations plan may need to be reassessed. If you had planned on pitching local media in areas that have been hit hard by the storm, it's probably best to hold off until the storm is over. Local media is likely overloaded and shorthanded while trying to cover all aspects of the storm. 

  5. Try and stick to a routine: Experienced telecommuters can attest to the value of maintaining the mindset of being in the office. Start and stop work at the same times as you normally would, and take breaks accordingly. Working from home has the potential for worsening your performance, but not if you approach it in a disciplined manner.  

  6. Keep a log: Keep track of what you've accomplished to make sure nothing has slipped through the cracks. This may come in handy if you need to prove your productivity at home, and if you want to build a case to telecommute regularly.  

  7. Be sensitive on social networks: Don't make the mistake of being tone-deaf to your audience. If your social media audience is discussing all aspects of the storm and its devastation, launching a social media contest or certain feel-good posts may not be well-received during this time. 

  8. Power up in advance: Yes, mobile phones, laptops or tablets can all enable you to do your job outside the office, but a dead device won't help anyone. In advance of a possible power outage, keep all your devices—especially phones and tablets that use 3G service instead of WiFi, which will go out if and when the power does—on chargers.  

  9. Change your e-mail signature: Make sure that your cell phone number is in your e-mail signature line instead of your office line, in case a client or contact needs to reach you in a pinch. 

Be safe, work smart and enjoy wearing your slippers while on the job. 

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg