Winter can be a difficult season to navigate for many businesses. Extreme weather conditions, power outages and staff absences due to sickness or travel difficulties can also cause productivity to slow down. But, if you want to stay at the top of your game, here are five things to consider.
- Appropriate salt storage
Salt is a winter staple, especially if you live in an area where snow and ice are particularly common. Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water, which prevents ice or frost forming in public areas and should be used to ensure business walkways, parking lots and roads are safe. Investing in adequate salt storage solutions will help protect your salt piles year-round and put your mind at ease.
- Install a UPS
Power outages caused by heavy rain, thunderstorms and so on can be bad for business. Facebook, for instance, loses $6.3 million for every hour of work lost. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan should a power cut strike. Installing an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) will allow your devices to run off battery power while you save important documents. Connecting to an ad-hoc network via a hotspot MiFi device will also help you stay connected when the power in your area is out.
- Update your employee contacts list
From heavy snowfall to the suspension of regular transport services, there are many reasons why an employee might not make it to work during the winter months. So, it’s wise to prepare for these types of situations long in advance. A ‘work-from-home’ policy can solve a lot of problems, but to inform people of your decision day-by-day, week-by-week, you need an updated list of contact details. Gathering telephone numbers will make it easier to use free messaging services such as WhatsApp.
- Invest in quality equipment
All companies should invest in quality equipment to get through the winter months such as heavy snow shovels. Snow tyres for company cars might be necessary and how about encouraging staff to put together a ‘winter pack’ for their vehicles including a shovel, blanket, in-car phone charger and torch? You should also invest in high-visibility jackets and vests for anyone spreading salt or clearing snow.
Top tip: Any equipment being stored for the winter months should be undercover and well-protected or it might not work again in spring. Winterizing equipment also means carrying out specific checks before and directly after a cold snap. Be sure to inspect the lights, windshield wipers, fluid levels, brakes, tire pressure and engine parts of any vehicles you have on site.
- Carry out a risk assessment
A risk assessment means identifying anything on your premises which may be considered dangerous to staff or members of the public visiting your site. These should be addressed before winter. Loose steps, for instance, must be fixed to avoid them becoming worse after a storm or heavy snowfall. All pipes should be insulated to stop them from freezing over and the HVAC system of your building should also be checked to ensure all employees stay comfortable throughout the colder months.
When it comes to winter preparation, don’t leave everything until the last minute as you might get caught out by that first snow flurry or unexpected strong winds.