The Way We Work
October 25, 2011 by Stephanie Gonzaga

When it comes to remote work, there are bound to be a few "surprises" along the way that could change the course of your project completely. It could be a family emergency, a sudden power outage due to bad weather, or even a shift of priorities.

These things can turn your schedules, deadlines, and product launches around in an instant, so the best way to prevent these things from affecting your work too much is to do a bit of crisis planning beforehand.

To start, here are seven useful strategies that you can consider when crisis planning:

  1. Contact Details - Make it a habit to save primary and alternative contact details of your contractors or clients in case of emergencies that will force you out of your office chair. Write down your contractor or client's mobile phone number, landline number if available, and his or her work email address.
  2. Substitutes to the Rescue - Freelancers and small business owners should have contact details to other freelancers or project managers/assistants who they can trust and rely on to take over while you are gone. That way, the workflow continues to run smoothly and there is an overseer who can keep things in order till you get back.
  3. Mobile Internet Access - In case your home/office internet connection suddenly bogs down, mobile internet access can help you stay online and keep in touch with your contractors or clients. Common practice is using your mobile phone's 3G connection to access the internet, but you can certainly apply for a mobile wifi plan if your carrier of choice offers it.
  4. Back-Up Solution - Since remote work is done on the internet, you need a back-up solution ready to sync files and other project materials for everyone on your remote team to view and access to wherever they go. Dropbox, SpiderOak, and many other file sharing apps are certainly good tools to use for this purpose.
  5. Early Submission of Work - As much as possible, strive to submit work either ahead of schedule or on the deadline to avoid delays, suspension of launch dates, and the like. In the case of small business owners, do your best to encourage your contractors to submit work on time.
  6. Emergency Funds - A sudden medical emergency or inevitable bankruptcy can leave you in a very stressful financial situation. Make sure to have an emergency fund ready for disposal, in case there are accounts to settle. If budgeting your earnings to create an emergency fund is difficult for you, have a look at our tips for budgeting your freelance earnings.
  7. Smart Investments - Be ready to spend a portion of your income on investments that will save you in case a remote work crisis comes your way. For example, you can invest in a sturdy laptop to be able to take your projects wherever and whenever you'd like. Knowing the best wi-fi hotspots and internet cafes will certainly make work on-the-go smooth and convenient.

Effective crisis planning can make a difference for you and your freelance business. Whether you're a freelancer or a small business owner, having a solid plan to tackle project hiccups and emergencies can prevent even the worst mishaps from disrupting the overall workflow.

What other crisis planning strategies can you add to this list? What is your best strategy when handling emergencies and work issues? Share them in the comments below!

Stephanie Gonzaga

Freelance Writer

Stephanie Gonzaga is a freelancer on oDesk who specializes in writing top-notch web content, such as product copy, articles, and blog posts for clients all over the globe. During her free time, she writes on her blog The Freelance Pinoy, a site dedicated to providing Filipino freelancers with tips, advice, and strategies to help them reach freelancing success.