It has been estimated that up to a third of the UK workforce cannot get to work during the worst of the winter weather and that this will cost the economy up to £473 million. Seeing as we can’t do anything to prevent the snow you should have a contingency for your staff to work from home during those days when it’s just not feasible or safe for them to get in.
We have all by now read the multitude of studies showing how home working can improve productivity and increase moral but having the basics in place when it is a forced situation requires a different type of planning. If your staff member was not planning to work from home they may not have taken the correct equipment from the office and likewise what if a member of staff does not enjoy working alone at home, or cannot be trusted with the lack of supervision?
Planning ahead for these situations will give you and your staff a clear action plan that will help keep your productivity up through-out the bad weather.
Ice and snow can keep people from the high street, from using their cars, from accessing your shop and from seeing your signs. This is one of the reasons why many businesses are realising the potential of the internet to reach their target customers.
If your customers need you for advice or to discuss an issue, are they able to get your contact details easily online? And is your customer service inbox checked regularly? Is your website fully working and your online shop stocked and up-to-date? If you predict higher traffic to your site in bad weather these are things you will want to consider well in advance.
What about reaching out to your customers via social media? They might not be passing your shop front for the next few days as the weather clears so in that time you could focus on sharing your new products, special offers and other content via Facebook and Twitter.
Think about how you can you diversify your products or services to be more-in line with the weather? Take a high street café... The first snow fall or temperature drop would be prime time to advertise your ‘winter warming hot chocolate’. Or you’re a domestic cleaning agency... How about a ‘Christmas special offer’ to help spruce a house before hosting family for Christmas?
Be creative and adapt to what people are looking for in any particular season. You may sell similar products to your competitors but re-inventing the wheel will give you the edge that could make the difference this season.
As the cold weather rolls in so does the festive spirit. Christmas is firmly in sight as soon as the last firework goes out and no worldly festival is out of reach to a global audience online, there are countless ways you can get involved. A restaurant can have fun jiggling the menu in a way that captures the heart of the Christmas shoppers or a graphic design company could create some ghoulish sales literature around Halloween time. Put up some decorations and share in the festive fun, your customers will be drawn to a business that celebrates with them.
A good business insurance specialist will be able to understand the risks of your business and offer advice on what you need from a policy in order to remain as safe as possible, tailoring the features accordingly.
Calculating your business costs and adequately protecting for ‘business interruption’ is key to making sure you don’t lose out should you cease trading for any reason out of your control.
It is important to understand the costs of your stock and how those levels change during different seasons as well as over-heads, payroll and general running costs.
What would be the cost should the weather adversely affect or halt your business? This will be part of your risk management and business continuity planning on which a good insurer will be able to help you develop.