How to prepare your company for a water crisis

Day Zero is less than 3 months away. Here’s what you can do to stay productive.
How to prepare your company for a water crisis
Gary Willmott

Day Zero is less than 3 months away. Here’s what you can do to stay productive.

In Cape Town there is much talk surrounding the drought we’re experiencing, with the shortage being felt in a very real way in our everyday lives. Day Zero has been set to 16 April 2018 — the day we will no longer have running water in our taps.

The implications for businesses when this time comes will be problematic — employees will have to bring their own water to work every day, water will have to be delivered and stored on-site daily, chemical toilets will have to be installed… Combine these challenges with a disrupted daily commute and you’ve got a recipe for short, unproductive work days.

With this in mind, it’s likely that many businesses will not be able to stay open — either because they rely on high volumes of water for their core functions (like laundromats, construction companies, hotels, etc.) or because they are not able/cannot afford to offer safe water and sanitation to employees for their time at work.

If you’re based in Cape Town and manage teams, you should seriously consider and prepare for remote working. Our company has worked remotely for over a year and we’re more productive and efficient than ever. For some insights and inspiration, read Remote by Jason Fried.

We’ve compiled some tips from our personal experience in making the shift from office to remote work.

1) Start with 1 day a week

Before Day Zero hits, try proactively making 1 day a week “remote day.” Ease your staff into it and evaluate how it’s working for them. Add more days until you’re fully remote.

2) Use online software (The cloud is your friend)

We’ve tried and tested a whole bunch of online tools for project management, communication, publishing and maintaining the company culture. Because your work gets stored in the cloud, online tools are perfect for working remotely. All you need is a device and Wifi! Here’s a great list for you to try out:

Project management

Active Collab





Collaboration & communication



Google Hangouts




Google Calendar






Google Slides





Hi5 (Measure and improve culture through recognition and peer reviews)

Donut (Help with 1-on-1's)

Zenefits (Payroll, leave & benefits)

SageOne (Accounting & payroll)

Indeed (Recruiting)

3) Set measurable goals with deadlines

It can be difficult to gauge how productive the team is when working remotely. In combination with the online tools listed above, you can put structures in place to measure output & set up mid- to long-term goals to ensure everybody knows what they need to do and when.

4) Stay accountable

It’s important that the team is accountable to each other with their time and output. Our team has a “daily scrum” — a 15 to 30min call in the morning to hear what everyone is up to and would like to achieve for that day. For larger teams, assign Line Managers over smaller groups to keep it personal.

5) Have fun

Working remotely might feel like you don’t have handle on people because you can’t interact with them as you normally do in an office space, however you will quickly notice how responsible your employees are and see who takes ownership. It’s important to keep co-workers engaged, motivated and happy. Make allowance for office banter and quirky interactions! Use the above-mentioned online tools to keep in daily contact and get continuous feedback from employees, as if you’re in the same office space.

If things go well, you might even notice the efficiency and productivity goes up — it’s proven that if employees feel trusted they show more ownership. Once the drought is over, you might find that you’ll want to keep your company remote and never go back to an office again!

Remember to keep making efforts to save water whilst working from home/coffee shops!