Category : Preparedness
Preparing Your Business for Winter
It’s only September I hear you cry!
Why are you talking about preparing my business for winter?
Well, it will be October next week and by then the arguments about whether it’s cold enough to turn the heating on will be over and everyone will have agreed that the time has indeed come.
Having spent much of my adult life preparing for things that might go wrong I thought I would pass a few tips on to you.
I’ve also included links to some resources and if you would like a comprehensive checklist to help you prepare just send me your details in the pop up at the bottom of the page and I will send it to you.
So with winter on its way now would be a good time to think about planning for it.
It’s too late to plan in November when you find that all the snow shovels have been sold and you’ll have to walk over the icy path to your office to get some grit before someone hurts themselves. Remember, you have a duty of care for your staff and customers coming to your premises so you need to make sure you have done this stuff.
The main things that affect businesses in winter are snow storms, power cuts and flooding so what can you do now to make sure you are ready?
Keep an eye on the weather.
Sign up to the Met Office Severe Weather Warning Service.
Sign up for their email alerts. It’s free! I wouldn’t normally pay much attention to yellow alerts unless you were in a particularly vulnerable area prone to say flooding but when the alerts get to Amber you really need to take some action. What action you need to take will of course have been thought about and will be written in your plan.
You could also use the British Red Cross Emergency App. It’s free and might help you prepare your home for winter too.
How will you contact your staff? It may be that the office has no water or electricity. How will you contact your staff to tell them to work from home or other premises?
You may want to think about how you would go about diverting phones so your customers can still contact you, even if your staff are working from home. A VOIP phone service is what I recommend to my clients. It’s the way forward and is so much more resilient than landlines. Mine costs me about £3 a month so it’s also cheap.
How can you communicate with key team members when they are unable to get to the office? Not so much of a problem these days but if you haven’t thought about how you are going to do it before it happens you won’t be able to take advantage of the technology we all carry in our pockets.
What would you do if you and your staff can’t leave the premises because of snow or flooding? Do you have a source of food and water? People do get stuck in their workplace. If that is likely to be a risk for your premises what are you going to do? Remember, you may be cut off without electricity, which probably means no heat or light, or water so you need to think about how you might prepare.
Carry out a Business Impact Assessment. The government has provided some helpful resources here. It will give you an idea of how important your various services are to your business and what you can do without for a while. This allows you to focus on what is really important.
What happens if the roads are blocked and your supplier can’t get to you? Do you have plans to increase stock levels for winter? Do you have alternative suppliers?
Do you need fuel for your vehicles? You need to plan to keep them probably at least half full just in case the tanker doesn’t get to your garage.
If you would like some help with your planning just send me your email address and I will get back to you with a handy checklist that you can use as the basis of your plan.