While many people think about preparing their homes and even their cars for winter, they may not realize that they should also focus on their businesses. Winter weather brings a different set of problems to companies, but a little forethought and planning can allow your business to continue to operate as normal.
One of the biggest problems that can derail your business in the winter is a power outage. If severe enough, it can last for hours or even days. That means lost revenue for you unless you are prepared. Check your generators before winter and ensure that you have backup options in place should a power outage occur.
You need to make sure you have regular backups in place for any equipment that is not on the generator. In addition, you need to have plenty of batteries and flashlights on hand for your staff so that they can keep working if it is necessary and safe.
Snow storms and cold temperatures can affect businesses just as much as anything else. Make sure you have a plan in place in case employees cannot make it in. Also, be aware of changing weather conditions to let people leave early before they would be stranded.
For businesses that have outdoor employees, you need to ensure that everyone is dressed appropriately and takes more frequent breaks to prevent hypothermia. You may want to consider providing special clothing for extreme temperatures such as gloves, face masks and waterproof coats if your employees spend a great deal of time outside on their jobs. Many products that people purchase in stores are not designed for work use.
Clean off loading docks, sidewalks and any other surfaces where your employees, vendors or customers will be. Keeping these areas clean prevents your business from being liable for slips and falls. Contract with an outside company to have the areas pre-treated and cleaned off before the business opens. The added expense is small compared to one injury claim on your business insurance.
If your business makes deliveries, make sure the vehicles are in good running condition. Purchase new tires and check brakes and fluid levels to ensure driver safety and the safe arrival of your products. You may also want to let customers know that deliveries will take longer in bad weather so that they aren’t upset at delays and your employees won’t feel pressured to drive faster than what is safe.
Make sure your employees know the basic survival skills if they are caught out in bad weather. Have them keep their cell phones charged and require them to check in, especially if they are driving to remote areas.
A business has many challenges when dealing with winter weather and the impact that it has on operations. By planning ahead and developing a plan for various issues that may arise over the winter, you can keep your company operating like normal no matter what the weather forecast says.