The arrival of Storm Jonas heading from the US across the pond to here in the UK prompted the Met Office to issue weather warnings to prepare for plummeting temperatures and frosty conditions.In previous winters, the cost of weather disruption borne by the UK’s small business community was estimated to reach £174m, according to the FSB, primarily caused by inability to trade due to staff finding themselves unable to get to work. In addition, our own research paints a similar picture, finding that over a third (39 per cent) of companies reported negative impacts on their business caused by unexpected events; such as disruptive weather. So what can be done to make sure your business is weather-proof? The answer is not as difficult as it may seem – using a few straightforward and cost-effective technology solutions, you can reduce the impact so it’s business as usual. Introduce flexible working weather policies ahead of time Make sure to communicate a clear policy to your workforce on what to do when bad weather hits. In these cases, common sense is always the best approach – if it is easy for people to get into the office, then its business as normal. However, if they have to spend hours struggling against the elements to make it through the door, then it’s often more sensible to let employees know they can work from home, where they can dedicate more time to working rather than commuting. Look to the cloud If your employees are working from home, ensure they have access to documents and email through a cloud-based system. Tools such as Microsoft Office 365 can enable workers to access Word documents and PowerPoints presentations from a variety of devices including mobiles, tablets and laptops. If you are investing in these services, make sure you are using security software to protect your data across unsecured networks.
Read more on weather-proofing your business:
- Why 2016 will be the year that flexible working is fully embraced
- The challenges of running a seasonal business and how to overcome them
- 4.2m people across the UK now work from home, but trust is a growth barrier
While some companies are not on board the idea of remote working and new communications, one food startup has been able to introduce a working pattern so flexible that the staff don’t have a holiday allowance.Paul Lawton is head of O2 Small Business Image: Shutterstock
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