Using location-based alerts in an emergency
by Neil Conchie, on Nov 25, 2020 9:30:00 AM
Having a mobile workforce is increasingly common, and the trend towards remote working or having multiple business locations is only predicted to increase as time and technology progresses. So how do you communicate effectively with a geographically diverse team? Location-based alerts are probably the answer.
What is a location-based alert?
By using data you already have about your team, you can create location-based alerts which are notifications about a situation or emergency based on their physical location, or whether they are remote-working. For example, if severe weather is affecting one of your offices, leveraging location data allows you to send notifications only to those who need them.
Why use a location-based alerting system?
Employers have a duty of care for their team, which includes ensuring they can be kept out of harm’s way in case of an emergency or critical incident which can pose a new challenge as emergencies are not always universal, and don’t always affect every person in your team in the same way. One very good example of this is a weather-related emergency which may affect one of your office locations but not the others. If your emergency communications system sends alerts to all of your team without any consideration of location it is highly likely that your team will become desensitised to potentially important alerts (often referred to as alert fatigue) and won’t engage with them in future which could be potentially disastrous in an emergency situation.
Ways you can use location data to create alerts
Let’s use the example above of an extreme weather event affecting one of your office locations. If you already have a communications system in place, it would be sensible to ensure that your team are segmented into groups depending on which office they are based in, or whether they work from outside of the office space. If an emergency should then occur in one of your offices, you can quickly and accurately communicate with just those team members who are likely to be affected.
This same approach can be used in other location-sensitive events such as an outbreak of infectious disease in one location or location-specific systems problems.
Updating employee location data
Ensuring that the location data you are holding about your employees is accurate is another important part of using location-based alerts, and allowing employees access to the system to update their own location information can be a crucial part of not only holding up-to-date information, but also allowing them to feel in control and increasing engagement when alerts do need to be sent.
As with most emergency notification processes, location-based alerts are most effective when they can be used quickly and automatically, so it is important to make sure you are prepared in advance of an incident occurring.