This is a plot for a horror movie, if ever there was one. Some SHTF disaster traps you at work, for an extended period of time. You are stuck in the same room or building with your co-workers and bosses — not your family, not your friends. It’s enough to give you nightmares.
Now you might think that, in your particular case, you get along fine with your co-workers or even your boss. But when some disaster strikes, and everyone is afraid, behavior changes. Your friends or family might stick by your side and support you — possibly. But that is less likely to be true with co-workers. If it is in their best interest to stab you in the back, figuratively speaking, maybe they would. Fear changes people. Desperate people do desperate things. How well do you really know your co-workers? Some lucky few might have good friends or close family members among their co-workers. But in many cases, your co-workers could be unreliable, unpredictable, or a detriment to your safety. What to do?
Don’t be gullible. Though you may have trusted your co-workers before the SHTF, afterward use due caution. Do not put yourself in a vulnerable position based on trust of co-workers or bosses. They might sell you out to protect their own lives.
Just say No. Your health, safety, and life are more important than keeping your job. Be ready to say No to a boss or co-worker, even if it will cause some strife or possibly result in firing. Your bosses have no real authority over you, other than for work-related issues. And even then, you can quit your job, or say No and be fired. You may be in the habit of saying Yes to your boss at work. But when the SHTF, remember you can say No, and your life is more important than your job.
Beware of self-appointed leaders. In ordinary workplace situations, it often happens that a mere co-worker, with no real authority, acts as if he or she were in charge. And in a SHTF situation, when people are afflicted with fear and confusion, some have a tendency to follow whoever leads, even if they are not qualified to lead, and others have a tendency to try to take control of the group and the situation. Don’t fall in line, like a mindless sheep. Ignore or contradict a self-appointed leader who is making a bad decision. Offer an alternative plan. Or walk away.
Walking away is almost always an option. Even if it is dangerous to travel, and people have been instructed to “shelter in place”, you might still decide that it would be best to walk away from work, and find a better location to hunker down, or try to reach home. You have to weigh the risks of traveling to a new location versus the risks of remaining in place. But it is a judgment than you can and should make.
Consider all your options. Don’t just follow the crowd at work, doing whatever they do. Use your own knowledge and judgment. There are few situations in which there are only two options. Be creative. Think of a third or fourth option. Maybe you could convince a subset of your co-workers to follow your plan, and break away from the larger group. Be a rebel, when it is to your advantage. The United States was founded by rebels.
Government authorities will often issue recommendations or orders when there is a disaster. The orders may be useful, or they may be harmful, at least in your case. General recommendations given to a large group of persons might not be the best choice for each individual. If in your judgment, a different course of action would give you a better chance of survival, you should ignore government recommendations. Consider the case of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina. That was not an example of highly competent government. What is? So, in that example, if government instructs you to go to the Superdome to hunker down, maybe you could think of a better option.
Speaking generally, hunkering down in the same building as a large number of persons is usually not best. The more people you have in one enclosed space, the more problems you will have. It is difficult to get food and water for such a large group. A small group might obtain all that they need by raiding a local grocery store, but a large group must wait for government assistance. And that is a long wait.