Is your business a snow angel?

It’s that time of year where – depending on your age – you open your curtains in the morning with a surge of excitement or a pang of dread. What can divide the nation so? Yes, you’ve guessed it – the weather.

The weather forecasters have been talking up the risk of snow all the week and for some areas it has already arrived.

I’m lucky. Like several of my colleagues here are BHP, I work from home. So I don’t have to worry about the inevitable disruption every time we get a few flakes of snow. Scraping ice and snow from the car, delays caused by snow on the tracks and driving through roads submerged by rain are a thing of the past for me.

However, weather forecasters are in agreement that the weather in this country is becoming more extreme. So we are increasingly likely to be at the mercy of the climate. But it is possible to minimise the chaos caused adverse weather. Here are my tips:

  • Plan ahead. Weather disruption is becoming more frequent. Remember last year’s terrible floods?
  • Consider who really needs to be in work in order to keep things running. Ask yourself where your employees live and how they get to work each day. Are there alternative ways for them to get to work or is it safer for them to stay at home when the weather is bad? Before asking employees to come into work, make sure it is safe for them to do so.
  • Be flexible and considerate. The weather might not have affected your business but your employees, suppliers or customers may have been a victim of the weather. For example, deliveries may be delayed due to the weather or your employees may need time off at short notice to take care of their children when schools close.
  • Draw up a suitable bad weather policy so employees know what is expected of them and who they should contact if they can’t make it to work.
  • Use technology to facilitate flexible working. There are several options: employees can access their emails using smart phones or the internet; you can use cloud computing services to give employees access key documents; you can give employees remote access to your server; or, you can set up a Virtual Private Network.
  • Divert calls to your mobile phone or use a telephone answering service so you don’t miss important calls.
  • Carry out a full risk assessment and put together a disaster recovery plan.
  • Make sure you have suitable business insurance. Businesses situated in high-risk flood areas may need help specialist help to obtain insurance.
  • Finally, subscribe to flood alerts if you think your business is at risk of flooding and listen out for severe weather warnings and traffic news. Forewarned is forearmed!

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