Extreme weather is becoming an increasingly prominent problem for businesses all over the world. From Hurricanes Sandy in the USA, to the flooding and unexpectedly heavy snow in England, it seems that the planet is eager to remind us that there are some things that we cannot control. Is your business prepared for the forces of nature?
Developing an Extreme Weather Plan
When bad weather hits, everyone in the area suffers. It is important that you work with your employees and other businesses in your area, to minimize the disruption, and keep everyone safe. Consider drawing up a contingency plan that covers the most likely bad weather scenarios for the area where your business is based. Here are a few things that you may want to think about in your plan:
- Put employee safety first. If there are bad weather warnings, consider letting people leave work early so that they can get home before the roads get dangerous. If you wake up to find that it’s treacherous outside, advise employees to stay home.
- Weatherproof your office building before winter sets in. A small investment in insulation, double glazing, and other improvements will pay off massively in the long run.
- Have a plan for office closures. If one of your senior employees lives within walking distance of the office, consider giving them a small annual bonus for being the person responsible for checking the status of the office during periods of bad weather. Make sure they know that they should not put their safety at risk while making the journey, however.
- Support remote working. Many employees can do their jobs from home as long as they have a laptop and a mobile phone. Encourage people to stay safe and work from home during periods of bad weather.
- Test your contingency plan regularly. If you already have several remote workers, it’s easy to get complacent. During periods of bad weather, the number of people working from home may double or triple. Will your systems hold up? Do your office based employees know how to use the remote working solutions you provide, or will your IT support team end up getting dozens of phone calls? Test your system on a good day, so you know it won’t fail you when you need it.
- Have a plan for getting people home. The recent flooding in Northern England was sudden and unexpected. Many people left for work thinking that the weather was going to be perfectly normal, and found themselves under dressed and ill-prepared for the torrential rains. Some were forced to abandon their cars on flooded roads and walk home. Don’t leave your employees stranded. Have a plan for getting your employees home, or at the very least putting them up somewhere safe for the night.
- Have Emergency Kits and Supplies on hand. Make sure that your company has emergency kits and supplies for your employees if needed. You do not know how long you may be stuck inside your building. Suggest that your employees have emergency kits at their home location as well so they may be prepared for any given scenario.
With luck, you will never need your extreme weather contingency plans; however having them will give you and your employee’s peace of mind. Keep an eye on your local weather forecast, and be ready with your laptop and a hot cup of tea, just in case!
This post was written by James Harper on behalf of <a href=”http://www.maintel.co.uk/solutions/remote-working”>Maintel</a> who are experts in remote working technology and business continuity planning.