While bigger, more established businesses find reprieve in utilizing local generators to keep their operations running, small- and medium-scale businesses, not having much wriggle room, are often content in waiting out the darkness.
There are, however, practical solutions available today that small- and medium-scale business owners and employees can tap to mitigate the effects of blackouts on their operations.
For one, respectably featured laptops are, nowadays, becoming more affordable, and it makes economic sense to choose them over desktops. With laptops, employees can work outside their offices, in a coffee shop for instance, and still collaborate with the entire team through cloud-based productivity applications.
There are cloud-based word or spreadsheet processors available for free, and a company’s staff can use them to create, edit and share documents without being connected to a local server or ever printing a single page.
Companies can take it a step further and take a cost-effective investment to host e-mails, documents and applications in the cloud, for added security and flexibility. Not only is it considerably cheaper than procuring a local hosting infrastructure, hosting in the cloud can ensure that business will continue even when the lights go out.
For functions that cannot be hosted in the cloud or moved to a mobile device, such as printing, copying, fax and scanning (though there are scanning apps now available on smart phones), modern all-in-one machines can now work on batteries.
Load shedding used to be the stuff of nightmares for businesses. Now, by slightly altering the way we do things, companies can mitigate or even cancel its effects on their operations. But while blackouts are now easier to deal with, they should in no way be part of the everyday existence of businesses. Governments/utility providers should be able to take a proactive stance and stop or even prevent load shedding.
Innovative and cost-effective technologies, like rental power plants, now exist to provide the necessary electricity when a country’s power infrastructure cannot produce enough. They can be easily installed and commissioned, and can be constructed in as little as days – not weeks nor months. Hiring temporary power plants can avert power outages or stop blackouts in its tracks. The investment involved in renting electricity is proven to be marginal compared to the economic and social losses that a country may incur with persistent load shedding or wide-scale power interruptions.
A popular adage says that adversity may be the secret ingredient of success. By living through load shedding, businesses may learn how to tweak their operations and survive, or even save some money along the way. But if a business’ survival or a country’s economic viability is at stake, one cannot risk going through difficult times and simply hope for the best.
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