In 2010, the serious snow and icy weather came before Christmas and many businesses were adversely affected. So far this winter we’ve had some bad storms but only a few areas have seen snow and ice. But it could still be on the way.
If it does arrive during the latter part of January or in February, will you and your staff be able to get to work? Will roads be passable? Will schools close so that parents need to be at home for their children? Will anyone suffer injuries in falls and have to take sick leave? How would you feel if that happened because of slippery conditions on or just outside your premises? Could your business survive having to close down for a period if power was cut or no-one could get there?
How can you prepare for all or any of those eventualities? And what is it all going to cost you?
Contracts, Policies and Regulations
What it will cost depends partly on the expenses of getting prepared, partly on how much business you lose, and partly on what you must pay your staff in a period of inactivity.
If you already have HR policies in place to deal with adverse weather conditions, you may just need to remind personnel about them via a notice board, your intranet or face to face meetings. They need to know who to contact if they can’t come in and how to get in contact if your landline isn’t working. Some staff may be able to work at home, or come in for fewer hours than normal. You should also have arrangements in place to contact all of them if you have to close down.
Preparation costs may include supplying equipment for home work, which will require funds and should be carefully considered to see if it will reduce the loss of business enough to be worthwhile. Other funds might be needed for stocking up on rock salt and paying people to make car parking and pathways safe and avoid nasty falls on your premises.
Unless contracts of employment state otherwise, regulations require you to pay staff members who are available for work while the reasons for non-attendance are outside their control. Anyone who must care for dependants at home is entitled to unpaid leave, and it is up to you whether you are prepared to pay them anything. They may be able to make up time over the next weeks, in which case you wouldn’t be out of pocket eventually and it could be a good gesture where morale and loyalty is concerned.
Checking Cashflow and Budgeting
Clearly you need to check your cashflow projections and prepare a budget for all this, and we are more than happy to help you with this side of the preparation.