How weather-proof is your business?
Winter is coming and with the recent (and increasing) cases of flooding in my local area, Derbyshire, it highlighted how not being prepared for bad weather could be bad news for your business. The Beast from the East at the beginning of 2018 cost the UK economy £1bn a day. Whilst those conditions were on the extreme, it’s important to make sure you don’t get caught out. Here are some tips so you don’t get left out in the cold.
1. Plan for it.
Now I know that may seem obvious but does your business have a continuity plan for if and when any or every weather event occurs? How would your business deal with office closures, commuting issues for staff or absenteeism? What about your customers, clients or supply chain? What would happen to your business if they couldn’t operate? Having a plan will avoid any panic or confusion if and when it needs implementing.
Once your plan is in place, how is it communicated? At induction? In a handbook? Everyone in your business should be familiar with the continuity plan.
What’s your process during severe weather conditions? Who is the point of contact? What communication channels will you have in place during the severe weather? Are all your personnel files up to date and accessible even if away from the office?
3. Understand your Employer responsibilities and rights
You could lose significant revenue if you close your office at the first snowfall. But equally, your staff morale is going to drop if they are sat watching a blizzard from their office window. Making the call to shut any business or not to open in the first place is a tough one. You need to know your employer rights and what you can and can’t ask your staff to do, as well as any issues with pay. ACAS provide some excellent guidance on this (opens link in a new tab).
4. Alternative place of work
If you cannot access your main place of business for an extended period of time, do you have an alternative place of work? If your company runs on cloud based software, technically you could just pick your business up at any location and carry on as normal. But again, be sure of your employers rights when requesting changes to your employee contracts.
5. Remote workers
The significant increase in mobile connectivity and cloud based software has seen the increase in remote working or using virtual assistants. Having a virtual assistant in your business is vastly advantageous in any circumstances, but particularly during severe weather conditions. For example, for them you would not need to worry about any of the above. I am a virtual assistant and on Friday when river banks were bursting, roads were rivers and people were leaving work early to get home, I continued to work from the safety of my home providing uninterrupted business support to my clients, giving them one less thing to worry about. For my clients it was business as usual.
Although severe weather events in the UK are still pretty infrequent do you know how weather-proof your business is?