Load shedding is the bane of all South Africans’ existence. Schedule’s are inconsistent, warnings are given late and business equipment suffers as power is turned off and on. After Eskom announced stage two load shedding would commence on 13 April 2021, which was then subsequently suspended, we were thrown back into a temporary state of rushed planning for the impending downtime. 

The ups and downs are endless, and small businesses are most often the hardest hit. Without the cash reserves that large corporates and enterprises have available, every sale counts. With an estimated 5.6 million small businesses in South Africa, that account for roughly 28% of employment in the country, a constant flow of income is vital for small business and employee survival. 

While you may not be able to work at 100% when the lights go out, there are certainly ways to get through with some level of productivity while mitigating the disturbance to your business processes. 

How to survive load shedding:

1. Use various sources to plan around the schedule

As we know, the load shedding schedule can be unpredictable. While the levels and what they represent stay the same, when they get implemented and for how long can often be changed at the last minute. 

It’s best to keep an eye on not one, but a few sources to make sure you know exactly when your power will go off or not, so that you can plan effectively for any upcoming downtime. Reliable sources include:

2. Identify tasks that can be done without electricity

Sitting around, waiting for the power to come back can be extremely frustrating. Instead, identify the tasks that you could potentially do without power, even if they’re more admin or goals orientated, and even if it means making a good old fashioned written list. 

Some offline tasks include:

  • Drafting email replies
  • Using your cloud based documents or spreadsheets in ‘offline’ mode
  • Reading bookmarked and pre-loaded industry insights
  • Having a team meeting or catch up

3. Invest in a backup power supply

If you can’t afford to let your device/s die during load shedding, it’s worthwhile investing in an alternative power solution to tie you over. A backup power system provides electricity to your device when an outage occurs. Depending on the amount of power your backup power system has, it can keep your device going for as long as the outage lasts. You’ll then be able to access important documents and spreadsheets while the power is out.

4. Protect your devices

While it’s always a relief when the power comes back on, the surge in electricity can cause damage to devices and equipment over a long period of time. Mitigate the damage and extra costs of new equipment further down the line by unplugging everything before the power goes, and plugging everything back in only once the power comes back on. 

Alternatively, if you aren’t always aware that load shedding is about to hit, you can invest in a surge protector to divert the extra supply in electricity that causes the damage.

5. Make use of the cloud

Lastly, if your work is mainly computer-based, having a cloud-based solution means you can access your data no matter where you are. If load shedding hits your office, you can access your documents and spreadsheets via your laptop in another location that isn’t experiencing load shedding. Cloud-based solutions including business email, filing, calendars and team messaging, can be accessed via any device that has an internet connection, allowing you to move locations and continue your important work.

While we can’t ever avoid load shedding, there are at least some ways to stay relatively productive and mitigate device damage when the power goes out.