Riding the storm - what to do if your business is affected by bad weather

By: Hannah Tonge

Date: 9 January 2014

Riding the storm - what to do if your business is affected by bad weather{{}}Stormy weather

Being British, we do love to complain about the weather. However, over the last few months we’ve seen an unusually high number of storms, bringing with them strong winds, torrential rain, and tidal surges.

Compared to our usual seasonal inclemency, this flurry of storms really has given us something to complain about. Thousands of homes and businesses across the UK have suffered flood damage or power loss at some point.

Forward thinking

Sadly, if your business has been affected, there’s not much you can do apart from dry yourself off and move on.

But that’s not to say you can’t be prepared for the next time.

So, to help keep your business up and running (whatever the weather), here are our top tips for avoiding trouble. Business continuity might sound a bit stuffy, but it’s really simple and could save you a shedload.

  • Devise a simple ‘unexpected circumstances’ plan. This should detail who does what, when and where if things go awry. If you’re a sole trader, investigate the cost and location of shared working spaces.
  • If you have the means, prepare a second, temporary office if you or your staff can’t get to your usual one. If that’s not possible, back up your files on a second server or use cloud technology. Make sure employees can work from home if needs be, too.
  • Don’t forget your responsibilities as an employer. Be prepared to send your people home early if conditions worsen, and be flexible if travelling is dangerous. Consider setting out a ‘bad weather policy’ so everybody knows what’s expected of them.
  • Make sure your office is useable. Get the heating serviced and invest in portable heaters. Outside, grit any paths and car parks. Battling to work is one thing; a health and safety minefield when you get there is something else.
  • Think about a good business interruption insurance policy. It can help with the costs of disruption and covers lost income if you’re scuppered by, say, a burst pipe or if access to your office is blocked.

No one likes bad weather, but at least your business doesn’t have to suffer.  Just keep an eye on the weather report and to make sure you’re well prepared to deal with potential disruption. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Hannah Tonge, PolicyBee professional insurance brokers 

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