How to Prepare Your Business for Adverse Weather Conditions

Office closures due to bad weather - Christmas

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

The particularly brutal weather we saw when the “Beast From the East” paid us a visit earlier in the year highlighted how unprepared many of us are for dealing with adverse weather conditions. And whilst a White Christmas is on many people’s wish-list, the disruption caused by bad weather can be costly for your business.

The answer is to be prepared. Formulate a plan of what employees need to do should they experience difficulty getting to work in bad weather. Is it possible for them to work from home? Can you provide any technology they may need to do so? Can working hours be temporarily relaxed so that they can allow more time to travel?

Staff who do not make it in can be asked to take annual leave or make up their hours at a different time, and they are not automatically entitled to pay as some believe. However, should you make the decision to close the workplace if conditions are very poor or you will not have enough staff to function safely, a procedure should be in place to advise your employees of your decision as soon as it is made. If you do “shut shop”, you cannot withhold pay or ask employees to take annual leave.

Remember also your obligations under Health and Safety – if you are responsible for the land on which the entrance to your business stands, you should ensure as best you can that it is safe to walk there. Consider keeping a grit box or a supply of salt so that you can make a safe path for your customers and staff to visit your premises.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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