Getting Your Business Ready For The Winter Months

Posted By on October 8th, 2019

As we move into October our thoughts move to the clock change, darker evenings and all things winter.

It also makes us think of the risks that winter and cold, extreme weather bring with it. Especially those risks which can affect businesses ability to operate:

  • Cold, icy weather can cause pipes to freeze. Which can then cause them to burst. Water damage can be devastating to business premises and ruin stock
  • Wet winter weather brings with it the risk of flooding. Particularly to those with premises located in flood risk areas
  • Snow can cause difficult travelling conditions. Making it hard and at times dangerous for employees to travel into work. It can also cause disruption to footfall and customer numbers if you rely on people coming to your business premises.

It’s important to give consideration to the possibility of worsening weather conditions as we approach the winter months. And to put steps in place to protect your business. 

Keep up to date with weather forecast

Keep an eye on weather forecasts. You can use the Met Office websitefor up to date forecasts in your area. You can also sign up to receive weather warning email alerts.

Knowing what the weather is likely to do can allow you to take precautionary steps. For example, if your business premises are not occupied over the weekend and a cold snap is predicated, you can leave heating on a low level to avoid the likelihood of a burst pipe.

Put contingency plans in place

Have you thought about what would happen if snow prevented your staff from making it into the office? Could they work from home for example? As well as keeping staff safe, working from home can offer a productive alternative. If staff get stuck in bad traffic or need to leave early to avoid poor weather, you could lose quite a lot of working hours. 

It’s good to have bad weather working policies in place so that everyone knows what is and isn’t possible. It also means as a business you will be prepared and have the infrastructure in place to enable home working if necessary, for example.

Likewise, have you given thought to what would happen if bad weather affects your servers, or power lines? Is your data sufficiently backed up? Do you have an alternative way to access tools and systems that you require day to day?

This detail will likely be included in your business’s disaster recovery plan. If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan, then now may be a good time to make one. Check out our blog on the importance of a disaster recovery plan.

Carry out maintenance checks

Now is a good time to check the maintenance of your business. As well as the obvious such as checking your heating system and general maintenance of your building (your roof, guttering, pipework etc) this can also involve your IT systems. 

It is also a good time to familiarise yourself with the layout of your building again. For example, make sure you know where all the stopcocks are so that you can switch water supplies off easily and ensure you know who all of your utility suppliers are.

It’s also a good time to check that you have a list of suppliers that you can contact quickly and easily in the event of an emergency such as plumbers, builders etc. This can speed up your disaster recovery processes.

Be Prepared

Make sure you have grit supplies so that you can clear and make safe any pathways, car parks or walkways on your business premises. 

Take steps to protect your business against flooding – read our recent blog here for flood preparation tips.

If you operate a fleet of company cars it may be worth looking at whether it is worth investing in winter tyres for your drivers.

Likewise, encourage your staff to plan ahead and be prepared for all weather eventualities. This could include encouraging them to carry out their own winter maintenance checks on their vehicles to having a ‘winter pack’ in their car. This could include equipment like blankets, torches, in car phone chargers etc. Anything which could be useful in adverse weather. 

Check your insurance

Make sure that your small business insurance is up to date. Make sure you know who your insurer is as a minimum and that you have their contact details and your policy number to hand. 

It may also be a good idea to review your insurance coverage. Check that sum insured limits are still sufficient to cover your business for example. 

Do you have cover for business interruption? If you were to suffer a burst pipe for example which created extensive water damage, it’s unlikely you would be able to operate. Many standard insurance policies won’t cover the loss of income you may suffer during this downtime. This is where business interruption insurancecan come into play.

The most important thing you can do for your business as we move into the winter months is to think ahead. This will put you in the best position to act if the worst should happen and enable you to quickly put in place disaster recovery processes.

If you are reviewing your disaster recovery strategy as part of your winter readiness planning, do get in touch with First Recovery. We are specialists in disaster recovery and can help get your business back and up and running as quickly as possible following a disaster event. Call us on 0207 410 7499today.