How businesses should prepare for severe weather
At the first sign of snow in the UK, there’s a rush on the supermarkets as people stock up on essentials for fear they’ll be stuck at home. It may often be an overreaction – but it’s in stark contrast to how many businesses behave, often failing to prepare adequately for severe weather when they should be.
Here are some thoughts on some of the areas you might want to consider:
The ability to work remotely is an obvious asset if the weather makes getting to work a problem. It’s far safer to allow staff a couple of days out of the office, logging in from home, than it is to risk them braving the icy roads or getting stranded at work. If staff do struggle in, don’t wait until the last minute to send staff home, leaving them to travel in potentially unsafe conditions.
Think about how you last dealt with a severe weather event – could you have done anything differently?
For many businesses, bad weather will inevitably cause disruptions to staff, customers and suppliers. Consider how your customers are going to expect the normal level of service and whether your suppliers are going to be able to deliver items. Giving staff the ability to work from any location at any time – from home, another office location or on the go – makes this much easier. Most importantly, keep the lines of communications open – if things aren’t going to plan because of the weather, let customers know and keep them updated. They are far more likely to be undertstanding if they are kept informed.
Check the technology
Do you and your staff have the kit to enable the team to work from home? Remote working technology is now accessible to most businesses at a relatively low cost. Adopting a cloud solution like Microsoft Teams means you can still communicate with your employees wherever they are. All your collaboration is available in one place – you can easily edit and share documents at the same time, chat, have meetings and manage projects.
Have a clear and up-to-date policy that outlines what is expected of employees in periods of bad weather or unexpected shutdown. Let them know how you will communicate an office closure – employees should also know who to report to if they can’t get in to work.
Make sure you have all the insurance you need to mitigate any impact of a weather disaster. Nobody wants to end up in lengthy legal battles because they weren’t properly protected.
Plan, plan, plan
A couple inches of snow may not be a state of emergency – but you never know when an unexpected bout of bad weather will hit. It pays to give some thought to this and have a contingency plan in place. In weather-related emergencies there isn’t a one size fits all plan – plan according to your business’ needs.
This includes communication with your employees, creating a policy, training staff on how to react and having strategy in place for business continuity.
According to the FSB, 60% of SMEs don’t have a plan to cope with extreme weather events. Floods may only affect a small percentage of UK business every year – but if you don’t have a backup solution, it could mean a catastrophic data loss for your business, affecting productivity, revenue and reputation. Having a business continuity solution is essential to protect all your data, no matter where it is.
At Aura Technology, we can work with you to deliver a managed IT service, including cloud and business continuity solutions that fit your exact business requirements. Contact us for more information.