Whether you’re ready for it or not, winter is here. That can mean heavy snowfalls, ice storms and extreme cold. These conditions can lead to power outages and blocked roads and highways, which can be a very real threat to your business. However, by taking action now you can ensure that your business operations are able to withstand the damaging effects of winter weather. Here are some tips to help you get prepared:
Be equipped for an emergency. Since a storm can happen quite suddenly, it’s a good idea to have essential supplies on hand. Put together an emergency kit with water, canned goods, a can opener, flashlight, battery powered radio, batteries, matches, extra clothes, personal hygiene items, blankets, extra hats and mitts, phone numbers of your neighbours, a first aid kit, board games, colouring books, and cash in small denominations. Winterize your car by putting on snow tires, checking your antifreeze, keeping your gas tank full, and keeping shovels and ice melt in your trunk. Depending on the nature of your business, you might want to consider purchasing a generator as power outages are the biggest cause of business interruptions.
When there’s severe weather, don’t compromise your employees’ safety by asking them to come in to work.
Have a plan in place. Before a storm hits, identify the greatest risks to your business. This gives you the opportunity to effectively prepare ahead of time. Make sure that you have a particular employee assigned to contact customers, employees and suppliers in case of severe weather. Failure to communicate throughout a storm can actually do more damage than the storm itself. It’s also a good idea to identify some potential back up suppliers and to check out your insurance coverage to determine whether or not you are covered for flood damage, business interruption, and revenue loss. If you need extra insurance, you’d better find out now.
Back up your data. Backing up your files may not feel like a high priority task, but neglecting to do it can be devastating to your business. It’s a good idea to store your files remotely in case you have to be relocated. Also, keeping careful records and pictures of the assets of your company and storing them in a safety deposit box will make it a lot easier to claim insurance.
Support your employees. When there’s severe weather, don’t compromise your employees’ safety by asking them to come in to work. If possible, develop a work from home strategy. Also, provide them with information about how to prepare for winter storms and support them wherever you can.
With forethought and attention to detail, ensure that your self, your employees, and your family will stay warm, dry, and safe. Remember Aesop’s fable about the lazy grasshopper and the hardworking ant; if you are prepared, you won’t have to worry no matter the weather.