Are You Prepared for Extreme Weather?
Severe weather conditions can cause power outages and other business interruptions that cost millions. Is your business ready for winter?
It is a peculiarity of the English that we love nothing more than to talk about the weather. Yet as soon as there is a severe event, such as heavy snow, strong winds or flooding, we have a tendency to stare like a rabbit into the headlights as if it was the last thing we could possibly have expected.
The annual Business Continuity Management Survey consistently rates winter weather as the biggest disruptor, with it affecting an amazing 77 percent of organisations. A business continuity plan ensures you are as ready as you can be to minimise the impact of whatever the Great British winter can throw at you. What aspects do you need to consider?
In the modern era, if you haven’t got electricity, your business will grind to a halt. IT systems, lighting, even the entry systems to get in and out of the building will all be affected. Before you do anything else, you need to get in touch with a generator hire company to get emergency backup in place.
There are some things that you just can’t control. If roads are blocked and impassable, you can’t go out and clear them yourself. However, that doesn’t mean you are powerless to do anything about the problem. These days, workers can fulfil most of their day to day duties from anywhere, as long as there is remote access capability. Speak to your IT experts, and if you have a creaking and old fashioned system, perhaps now is the time to upgrade it to a cloud based solution that employees can access from home.
Every business has an obligation to take good care of its people, both from a legal perspective and because it is ethically the right thing to do. Giving some basic training on winter safety, such as essential winter driving tips, will not take long, but could make all the difference in an emergency situation.
Maintaining workplace conditions
It doesn’t always take an extreme weather event to bring a business to a halt. Just a drop in temperature can do the trick if your heating system suddenly packs up. You can’t expect people to sit at their desks in coast and gloves – in fact, as an employer, you have a legal obligation to ensure the workplace is at a reasonable temperature, which generally means at least 16°C. Make sure the heating system is up to the mark and has been recently checked and serviced, or you will be paying through the nose for an emergency call out. A warm, comfortable office also reduces the likelihood of anyone being tempted to smuggle in potentially hazardous portable heaters from home.