February typically provides some of the year’s most challenging weather conditions. The Scottish Business Resilience Centre has issued guidance on how businesses can best avoid significant disruption.
AS this page is being prepared much of Scotland has just come through a period of high winds, heavy rain and snow. On a number of occasions the Met Office has issued amber (be prepared) and yellow (be aware) warnings for wind and rain and stated that: “The public should be prepared for the potential for disruption to transport as well as power supplies and the possibility of structural damage.”
When severe weather is on the way businesses should take time to prepare for the various disruptions which harsh conditions can cause.
Those disruptions include but are not limited to:
• Staff difficulty getting to and from work.
• Supplier disruptions.
• Cancelled meetings.
• Threats to customer and staff safety.
• Cancellations or delays to public transport.
• Power failure.
Such disruptions are why it’s extremely important that you consider the implications of severe weather to your business. Do you have a continuity plan in place for power failure, or for flooding, or for key members of staff being unable to travel to work? Preparing for such problems before they occur could save time and money and could be the difference between being able or unable to trade.
Ready Scotland has put together a list of top tips and consideration for business continuity in severe weather:
• Be prepared for severe weather by ensuring that you have appropriate insurance cover for all aspects of your business.
• Encourage your staff to talk about how severe weather may affect your business and share ideas on how best to avoid disruption.
• Given that some staff may be unable to get to work – make sure you know how you would operate in their absence and consider remote or flexible working.
• Plan ahead and talk to your staff about what ‘essential travel’ means for them and your business.
• Be prepared for all kinds of severe weather – looking after your staff and customers will help maintain cash-flow and help build a reputation for reliability.
• Think ahead and plan how you would operate if you couldn’t access or use part of your premises, and how you would evacuate staff or move stock.
• Put contingency plans in place for how you would manage if there was a power, phone or other utility failure.
• Use getting ready for severe weather as an opportunity to check also that you are not taking unnecessary risks elsewhere in your business – like equipment or IT failure.
• Put plans in place and make the most of social media and other communication channels during periods of severe weather to maintain regular contact with customers, suppliers and staff to help overcome problems
• Ensure you have alternative arrangements in case your suppliers suffer a disruption to their business?
• Tough economic times bring added business risks. So it’s even more important to ensure you take appropriate steps now to avoid disruption later when severe weather strikes.
More information on all aspects of readiness and awareness is at the Ready Scotland website www.readyscotland.org
The site includes sections with specific information for businesses in Scotland.