Everbridge partner Atos, a global leader in cloud and the digital workplace, recently published an interesting take on the future of work and how new technology trends will impact businesses and employees alike, now and in years to come. The company suggests that the combination of 5G and technologically augmented humans will drive some of the most significant changes in the way we work.
According to Atos, 5G will make the employee experience more satisfying and give workers new tools to assist people remotely, while also generating valuable feedback and data, thanks to connected devices. Moreover, their experts note that “giving humans bionic or biologically-inspired capabilities that exceed their natural abilities, like upgrading human vision” could potentially boost the productivity and effectiveness of workforces.
No matter what the future holds, there will always be a need to protect and safeguard workforces. Software Solutions that help companies ensure resilience remain a key work investment trend, and the pandemic has only increased the focus on an organization’s responsibility for employee wellbeing.
Fortunately, solutions exist today to help businesses protect their employees, mitigate threats, and build lasting resilience against future risks.
Benefits of Software Include:
Fulfilling Duty of Care
- Keep an organization’s digital and physical environments safe and secure.
- Protect against individual online vulnerability.
- Provide proper ergonomic office equipment and/or safety equipment, such as access to a fire extinguisher.
- Facilitate open avenues of communication to always ensure employee wellness and safety, especially during risk events.
- Identify insider threats without a common workspace or hours.
- Safeguard information stored by remote employees’ devices.
- Ensure confidentiality in spaces that do not belong to the organization, such as flexible workspaces or meet-up locations.
- Manage access and control across potentially thousands of devices and locations.
- Protect all employees—whether in the office, at remote sites, or traveling—against severe weather events, violence, and other threats.
- Facilitate a safe return to physical offices, e.g., regular wellness checks and/or safe level of occupancy.
To address these challenges, companies can benefit from the implementation of Critical Event Management (CEM) solutions, which offer a holistic approach to threats through software automation. CEM is crucial for the new workforce because it is not threat- or vulnerability-specific. The more dispersed a workforce becomes with the new hybrid work model, the more threats they may encounter, whether it is a cyber disruption, terrorist activity, severe weather, or an IT incident.
All these events impact a company’s ability to maintain an operational tempo that leads to success, and so security professionals must have a solution that can successfully address a multitude of threats in various locations due to employees working remotely. Companies that can identify threats on the front end before they manifest and shorten the recovery time once an event has occurred put themselves in a better competitive position against other companies in the same space.
With the addition of human augmentation, the CEM ecosystem can ensure that employee safety only gets better. It will share critical information about their wellbeing, as well as insights about their surrounding work environment. Expanded CEM coverage means organizations are more informed about the status of infrastructure, other colleagues, and much more.
As we look to the future, technological advancements that increase productivity and work satisfaction will continue to go hand-in-hand with technology that keeps employees safe.
Everbridge offers numerous solutions that help companies fulfill their duty of care and drive effective digital and physical security so that risks can be identified, prevented, mitigated, and repaired. To learn more, visit Everbridge.com, Atos at Unify.com, or read about our joint partnership here Everbridge & Atos Joint Value.
As a critical part of the UK’s infrastructure, O2 is constantly seeking better ways to modernize and automate incident response. They turned to xMatters as a way to build remarkable customer experiences, protect against service disruption, and transform the way they manage incidents.
When seconds count, locating your employees is vital — while they are traveling, or simply moving between buildings or campuses. Everbridge People Resilience aggregates data to show you where your employees are right now, in real-time.
Severe weather puts millions in harm’s way each year. By 2050, severe weather and climate-related events could displace 1.2 billion people across the globe, putting communities and the businesses they support at risk. As severe weather continues to threaten more people and cause greater harm, building resilience against natural hazards and climate threats is paramount: the time for governments and enterprises to act is now.
Severe Weather Trends
Severe weather and climate-related risk events have increased five times over the last decade, causing approximately $137 billion in economic loss each year. Many locations are expected to see a substantial increase in the number of severe weather events such as extreme heat, extreme cold, wildfire, and flooding.
Extreme Heat Events
Heat waves are occurring more often in major cities across the United States and are becoming more intense. Washington and Oregon were heavily impacted: In Salem, Oregon, temperatures crested at 117°F (47.2°C). The sudden jump from an average temperature of 69.5 to 73.3°F (20.8 to 22.9°C) resulted in excess deaths across Washington State and Oregon. Both states reported that 95 people or more died from heat-related causes.
In the United Kingdom, the increase in heat waves and their duration has resulted in a change in how heat waves are classified across a band of English counties. The change is said to reflect “an undeniable warming trend” in the UK, making original thresholds obsolete.
Extreme Cold Events
Extreme cold can be just as deadly as extreme heat, especially in areas unfamiliar with cold or freezing temperatures. In addition to risk of life, freezing temperatures can also pose challenges to general infrastructure, electrical grids, and water systems. In the United States, Winter Storm Uri hit a very unprepared Texas resulting in loss of life and major infrastructure damage totaling between $80 and $130 billion. Approximately 4.5 million homes and businesses were left without power as Uri peaked, devastating the electrical power grid.
In Spain, record-breaking snowfall brought Madrid to a standstill. The failure of transportation services amid the extreme cold event pushed authorities to call on military and rescue services. The extreme cold event caused approximately €1.4 billion in damages, with some victims of the storm stuck in their vehicles for 12 hours amid freezing temperatures.
The escalating climate crisis is driving a global increase in wildfires and bushfires, with a 30% increase predicted by 2050, according to a UN report. “The heating of the planet is turning landscapes into tinderboxes,” said the report: and it couldn’t be more true. From North America to South America, Europe to Africa, and across Asia and Australia, wildfires are wreaking havoc.
Consider the United States: The Bootleg Fire was one of many fires burning across a dozen states. Originating in Oregon where forests make up nearly half of all land, the Bootleg Fire transformed into a massive inferno half the size of Rhode Island. The fire burned more than 400,000 acres over nearly 40 days. “It was the largest fire in the nation [at the time],” said Technical Account Manager Sarah Batmale at Everbridge. In the United States, wildfires run rampant, with the “damage and accumulative economic loss in the billions.”
In 2021, huge wildfires ravaged large regions of Europe: claiming human lives and impacting livelihoods across Greece, Italy, and Turkey The catastrophic fires burned across an area of 130,000 hectares: approximately double the size of New York City. The burned area of the year’s fires approaches the sum of burned areas across Greece over eight years.
Like most severe weather occurrences, extreme flooding is also likely to increase as temperatures rise. From Germany to China, the United Kingdom to India, New South Wales to South Africa, and the United States to Nepal, extreme flooding is having devastating consequences.
In Germany, extreme flooding impacted around a third of the inhabitants of Ahr Valley. More than 500 buildings were swept away in the flood, and at least 165 people were reported dead across western Germany. Supply chains across the region were impacted and the total financial damage totaled approximately €1.8 billion. While Ahr Valley is in the process of being rebuilt, with the German cabinet approving €400 million in flood aid, the psychological scars of the event are likely to last forever.
Across South Africa, days of severe storms and flooding have resulted in nearly 400 deaths. More than 40,000 people were affected by the floods, which destroyed or damaged homes and roads across the region. The regional government cities the extreme flooding event as “one of the darkest moments in the history” of the KwaZulu-Natal province.
An Urgency for Action: Why Enterprises and Government Organizations Should Act Now
Climate change and severe weather events are top global emergencies for governments and enterprises. “Over the past years, we’ve collectively seen an increase in severe weather events not only in their frequency, their size, but also how they are interconnected,” says Sunita Voleppe, Product Marketing Manager for Public Safety at Everbridge. “This has a direct impact on businesses and their operations as well as government officials responsible for public safety, where the question isn’t if something will happen, but when will it happen… and are we prepared for it?”
We can’t reverse climate change overnight, but governments and enterprises can act with urgency to better protect their people and assets from harm. Since severe weather events show no sign of slowing or stopping and are currently mounting in severity and overlapping with one another, it’s important to act with urgency. By assessing severe weather risk, organizations and governments can better mitigate the impact a severe weather event has, creating a more robust approach to layered severe weather emergencies.
How to Best Prepare for Severe Weather and Climate-Related Events
It’s important governments and enterprises are prepared for a severe weather event before it happens. Both governments and enterprises experience similar concerns when it comes to severe weather events, such as employee safety, transportation concerns, office closures, and disruption to essential business processes. However, government organizations and private enterprises should prepare for severe weather and climate-related events in slightly different ways.
What steps can governments take to mitigate climate risk and severe weather events?
Governments and public safety organizations are responsible for the safety of their employees and communities. To mitigate the impact of climate risk and severe weather events, governments must ensure their severe weather preparedness plans are broad enough to keep employees, infrastructure, and community members out of harm’s way. Part of that means making sure “[governments] have the right technology,” says Industry Solutions Manager James Podlucky at Everbridge.
Governments should consider the following when attempting to mitigate severe weather events impacting their business or communities:
- Risk assessment: Governments should perform Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (THIRA) to understand what natural threats or hazards may impact their community, the potential severity of these risks, and the current capabilities the community has.
- Reliable communication: Governments need to be able to communicate with employees and residents before, during, and after a severe weather event. Ensuring communication systems are built for public safety is key. This means systems should be consistently available, capable of messaging large and targeted audiences, secure and compliant, capable of combating false alarms, and flexible.
- Interoperability: Weather doesn’t respect borders. The ability to receive and share information with other organizations is essential for coordination and collaboration. This means collaborating with other jurisdictions, hospitals, non-profits, and private businesses in the area.
- Awareness programs: To build resilience to severe weather, the entire community needs to be considered. Governments should educate community members on what types of risk are in the area, how to use emergency alerts systems, how to prepare for different kinds of emergencies, and where to access resources before, during, and after a critical event.
What steps can enterprises take to mitigate climate risk and severe weather events?
Enterprises facing climate-related risk events must consider their assets, employees, infrastructure, and business processes in their severe weather risk management strategy. To help mitigate the impact of climate risk and severe weather events, enterprises should consider:
- Risk assessment: Enterprises should perform severe weather risk assessments for current buildings; and before opening any new facilities.
- Reliable communication: Enterprises need to be able to communicate with employees before, during, and after a severe weather event. Ensuring communication systems are easy to use, effective, and accurate is key to keeping employees safe.
- Accurate data: Having the wrong kind of data or not enough data can make it difficult for enterprises and CROs to gauge risk and response. To prevent data from impacting severe weather mitigation efforts data must be current, and contacts much be reachable through a variety of verified modalities.
- Proper system access: With several employees and locations at risk of severe weather events, system users must have the access necessary to perform the duties assigned.
- Employee education: Employees should be trained and educated on how to receive and respond to severe weather alerts to keep themselves safe and operations protected.
Severe Weather Planning Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
Severe weather planning should be taken seriously and approached with urgency regardless of if you are new or seasoned in severe weather risk management. Here are some common pitfalls organizations face in severe weather planning and how to best avoid them.
- Lack of planning: Many organizations have a plan for common severe weather threats in their area. However, far fewer organizations have a plan for severe weather events that are less common. Taking an all-hazards approach to severe weather preparedness is key to ensuring individuals and assets are safe before, during, and after a severe weather event. Failing to plan for an event, no matter how rare, can exacerbate the impact of a threat and put everyone at an increased risk of harm.
- Over-notification: Severe weather events happen all the time. People become desensitized if they are over-alerted about events that do not directly impact them. To combat over-notification, it’s important to have SOPs that help message senders decide which events warrant an alert and how to send messages. Preplanning communication cadences and leveraging templates are great ways to reduce communications while maximizing their impact.
- Unintentional communication gaps: Being able to coordinate and collaborate with those necessary in a severe weather event is key to maintaining preparedness. According to James Podlucky at Everbridge, “[During] my time in emergency management, we’ve definitely seen some gaps and some difficulties [in] being able to coordinate and collaborate.” Communication gaps can be avoided by having a better understanding of your community. For example, being able to send messages in different languages across different channels in targeted areas helps ensure that everyone receives the correct information in a way that is accessible to them.
Severe Weather Preparedness: Everbridge Severe Weather Solutions
Having a plan to mitigate the impact of severe weather is a key component of climate-related risk management. However, planning for a severe weather event is no longer enough to guarantee the safety of employees, assets, operations, or community members. To be truly prepared, governments and enterprises must have the right technology to execute severe weather preparedness plans or risk injury to people, assets, and reputation.
Everbridge provides public, private, and non-profit sectors with solutions designed to keep people and operations safe before, during, and after a severe weather event. Everbridge helps create better outcomes for customers facing severe weather and climate-related risk events while improving overall preparedness. Some features of our severe weather solutions include:
- Automation: An automated trigger and pre-configured templates helps streamline responses to severe weather events while removing the guesswork and relying on manual intervention.
- Push notifications: Connect with employees and community members with speed and reliability. In many cases, people can choose what types of communications they want to receive and how they receive them. For population alerting, messages can be pushed to targeted areas via mobile devices in the incident zone.
- Quiet periods: When over-notification risks desensitizing employees and community members to severe weather alerts, quiet periods can be activated. Activating a quiet period allows users to stop receiving alerts, but that doesn’t mean employees and community members will remain unaware of a major weather event. With Everbridge, ‘major weather events will trigger an override to quiet periods,’ keeping people safe.
- Richer intelligence: With amplified ad hoc data feeds, organizations receive richer intelligence to correlate threats by quickly accessing the data needed to assess locations of assets and people, ensuring rapid and comprehensive incident assessment and remediation. Location-specific weather information allows organizations to track and alert those in harm’s way
- Wellness checks: Extreme weather events can impact employees and community members in a variety of ways. With Everbridge, organizations and governments can better gauge employee and community member status to accurately execute the next steps of their severe weather preparedness plans.
CTOs are at the forefront of technological innovation and strategy and are often burdened with fulfilling multiple roles. As business challenges mount, they must find ways to balance technology, teams, and processes to maximize their bottom line. However, it’s not all smooth sailing for these C-level executives. Four challenges often get in the way of CTOs looking to maximize growth and impact the business bottom line.
Emerging Challenges of the Modern CTO
- Security Threats: The world has become increasingly interconnected over the last decade. While beneficial, the onslaught of new technologies has created several diverse methods used by hackers to gain access to and threaten global organizations – and they show no sign of stopping. Cybersecurity Ventures expects global cybercrime costs to grow by 15% year over year for the next five years, tipping the scales at $10.5 trillion USD. As gaps in cyber security grow and hostile nation-state-sponsored and organized attacks ramp up, CTOs will face cyber security threats at a greater magnitude than ever before. Several countries and businesses are already preparing for heightened cyber security risks.
As security threats overwhelm the public sector, the private sector must fend for itself: and CTOs must lead the charge against prominent threats like ransomware. Threatpost, an independent news site and leading source of security information, announced that the second quarter of 2021 saw the highest volume of ransomware attacks ever, with global attack volume increasing by 151%. Even worse, the FBI stated that there are about 100 types of ransomware under current investigation: and CTOs are expected to defend against all of it while maintaining critical assets and operations on a shrinking budget.
- Balancing Innovation with Revenue Growth: Innovation is vital to ensuring the long-term success of a business, but it’s not just a line on a to-do list that CTOs can jump right into. To properly innovate, organizations need to streamline the processes that come before and balance their innovation initiatives with revenue growth and retention.
More than 54% of executives struggle with their innovation strategy. To ensure innovation gets off the ground, it’s important that CTOs set service level indicators, service level objectives, and other criteria in place that help reflect and measure the success and viability of short and long-term business goals. Without the proper criteria, it’s difficult to determine how much innovation is possible, especially when potential budgets are dragging behind. This complicated balancing act has many CTOs struggling to achieve their goals, so it should come as no surprise that more than 90% of companies are unhappy with their innovation performance.
- Skilled Workforce Scarcity: A skilled workforce is needed to keep operations going while working towards greater goals; this requires CTOs to upgrade their workforce. However, with teams under new pressures to be proficient in legacy and ground-breaking technology simultaneously, CTOs often find themselves struggling to elevate existing talent or find new talent with the skills needed to fill available roles.
In addition to general hiring and education obstacles associated with workforce management, organizations face additional hiring challenges. According to Citrix, 40% of US office workers left a job in the last year or are considering doing so. TalentLMS and Workable reported that 72% of US-based tech employees polled were thinking of quitting in the next 12 months, and 35% of tech workers cite they are leaving a job due to burnout. With global tech talent shortages and additional factors contributing to workforce scarcity, CTOs are finding talent harder to retain and replace than ever before.
- Poor Digital Adoption: Despite all the technological innovations breaking new ground, 30% of companies are considered laggards in digital adoption. Whether the lag comes from a shrinking budget, lack of desire, poor visualization, or the inability to align teams and toolsets, poor digital adoption impacts everyone within the organization – and the solution isn’t necessarily new technology.
To ensure any digital adoption goes smoothly, CTOs must first have a strategic vision. Once that vision is in place, ensuring all the pieces are there to drive that vision to fruition is key – and that doesn’t always mean having the newest technology. In many cases, poor adoption results from a lack of vision, which quickly evolves into a resistance to change.
While these emerging problems weigh heavily on the shoulders of modern CTOs, they aren’t impossible to resolve. Those who are looking to combat these challenges while growing the business should to scalable solutions like a digital operations platform.
Digital Operations Platforms: The Key to CTO Longevity and Enterprise Resilience
To protect your organization from any reliability and incident management snares, CTOs must turn towards new scalable solutions that prioritize innovation and long-term enterprise resilience. Digital operations platforms (DOPs) help CTOs resolve emerging business challenges by integrating new technology into existing legacy systems: aligning systems, software, toolsets, and teams.
With a digital operations platform, CTOs can automate workflows and ensure infrastructure and applications are always working, rapidly delivering products and services at scale, and creating seamless digital adoption at every turn. While CTOs can build pieces of a DOP and integrate built tools into their existing systems, a DOP holds much more value than its parts. Where independently built features may not scale as intended, a holistic DOP scales to empower CTOs and their organization: operating as a bespoke solution optimized for alignment, innovation, and resilience across your organization for years to come.
Accelerated trends toward hybrid and remote work compounded with the increasing frequency of critical events — such as severe weather, violence, and other threats — have made it more difficult for organizations to keep their people safe. Thankfully, today’s HR professionals are rising to the challenge with the help of technology.
HR leaders have been hard at work finding new ways to keep employees safe while championing and embracing new and innovative ways to work, laying the foundation for a strong, safe, and resilient workforce. However, many are still debating how to keep their people safe in an increasingly dangerous and fluid work environment. To better understand how to protect your employees during this dynamic time, it’s important HR professionals understand changing Duty of Care standards.
Understanding Duty of Care
Duty of Care is an organization’s responsibility to protect employee health, safety, and well-being during official business at the workplace or off-site. Organizations must meet their Duty of Care obligations across multiple jurisdictions and consider any additional risk with traveling employees when setting employee safety processes and procedures. Failure to accurately assess these risks can result in legal action against the corporation.
Though that may sound straightforward, there are still a lot of questions about Duty of Care and how to standardize it. According to Everbridge Chief Security Officer Tracy Reinhold, Duty of Care boils down to “the responsibility of an organization to take care of their employees,.”
To properly take care of employees and meet compliance standards, HR professionals must know how to best pivot to new work environments and threats to keep people safe. To accomplish this goal, it is essential to find ways to rapidly communicate with in-office, remote, hybrid, and traveling employees to ensure employee safety during potential or unfolding threats. While necessary to maintain compliance, fostering a safe and secure workforce provides long-term workforce resilience to organizations as well.
How Fulfilling Duty of Care Creates Workforce Resilience
Fostering a safe and secure work environment by meeting and exceeding Duty of Care standards shows employees their organization cares about them. By fulfilling a Duty of Care to employees and building a healthy company culture, organizations can greatly improve employee retention efforts. As MIT Sloan’s research illustrates, toxic culture is the leading cause of employee attrition. With additional pressure falling on HR professionals to retain employees, its vital workforce safety and wellness be taken seriously. After all, 6 out of 10 employees cite well-being benefits as a top concern when looking for a new job.
Studies show that employees who feel happy, healthy, and safe at work are more likely to perform better, be more engaged, and be more productive than their peers. In fact, MetLife predicts that employee wellness will have the greatest impact on the workplaces of the future, with those who fail to prioritize employee wellness facing possible collapse and poor workforce resilience.
Workforce Resilience: The Key to Safe and Strong Employees
The key to securing a healthy, happy, and engaged workforce begins with meeting and exceeding Duty of Care standards and employee wellness efforts. However, HR professionals must have the proper solutions to build true workforce resilience. One of the best ways to build long-term workforce resilience for safe and strong employees requires technology — and more specific Critical Event Management (CEM) software us take the guesswork out of on-site and remote worker safety.
For example, the Everbridge People Resilience solution help HR professionals and business leaders create workforce resilience by preparing for and responding to critical events by locating, assessing, communicating, and protecting people before, during and after a threat. By unifying disparate intelligence information and systems with automation and rich intelligence feeds, Everbridge People Resilience helps visualize physical and digital risks as well as vulnerabilities while automating responses: keeping your people safe at all times regardless of where they are in the field.
When employees are safe, secure, and supported, businesses thrive. To learn how Everbridge can help your organization build long-term workforce resilience, explore.