Winter is Coming – Is Your Business Prepared?
With forecasters predicting the harshest winter for 30 years, it is becoming apparent that severe weather conditions are becoming more frequent with each passing year. Torrential rain, storms and heavy snowfall can cause damage to businesses and homes. Russell Scanlan’s Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Dickinson offers some tips on how planning for poor weather conditions can reduce disruption and avoid costly claims to your business.
Over the course of the summer, we witnessed some of the highest temperatures and heaviest rainfall on record. Recent weather trends are just another reminder that with each year seems to bring more unpredictable weather. With winter fast approaching and experts already warning that it could be one of the coldest and harshest winters in decades, it’s important to consider what steps you should take to ensure your business is protected against potential weather damage.
According to research 66% of SME’s reported a loss of revenue due to bad weather conditions, with 31% reporting property damage to the business as a result. From frozen pipes to blocked roof gutters and localised flooding, there are a number of potential hazards your business could encounter as a result of harsh weather conditions.
Unpredictable weather is by its nature difficult to plan for, but there are practical steps you can take to reduce the risk of potential hazards and damage.
Protect your data
With harsh weather often comes the loss of online accessibility. Losing out on important work could have devasting effects on deadlines and employee morale. By investing in a cloud storage system, ensure your work is kept safe and confidential and avoid having to invest time into repeating tasks.
Keep electrical equipment safe
If flood warnings arise and your business is be at risk, keeping your electronics safe could save you thousands in repairs. Keep unused plug sockets turned off and ensure equipment is kept off the ground and away from any potential water entries. Leave critical systems operating and ensure everything else is kept safe and locked away.
Inform your employees of weather procedures
Having a bad weather plan in place to inform your workforce of the necessary procedures should extreme flooding or snow arise will help reduce disruption to day to day operations. Consider having a work from home arrangement with remote access and facilities in place for those who can’t make it to the office due to weather related travel complications.
Keep on top of the snow and ice
Snow and ice could lead to a fatal fall for one of your employees or prevent potential customers accessing your premises. Dig out a shovel and keep snow at bay, away from the buildings entrances and exits. Using grit can also prevent the build-up of ice. Snow and ice can weigh a deceiving amount, ensure window ledges or slanted roofs are kept clear where possible, to avoid the pressure of the weight from causing walls, ledges or roofs to cave-in.
Regular maintenance check-ups
Ensure an emergency contact for your landlord is on-hand and regular building inspections are carried out throughout the year. Having regular checks reduces the risk of finding structural defects that could lead to water entering or wind damaging the outside of the building.
Physical precautions are one way to reduce the potential risk of weather damage on your business, but making sure you have the correct cover in place if the worst does happen, is also vital. Despite 71% of Midlands based businesses reported having experienced weather damage, 64% admitted to not having the correct insurance.
Business interruption insurance is often an overlooked cover, yet it proves invaluable in the event of weather damage. It covers any loss of income (or increased costs of working) if you are unable to work from your usual business premises. If your business has to be re-homed for months on end while drying out or repairs are taking place, this cover can help minimise the financial impact on your business.
Don’t wait until the worst happens. There has never been a better time to reassess the risk to your property. If you have any questions about your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our team.