Is your business ready for winter?

By Alex Madden

With the cold and wet weather already in full swing, now is the best time to start preparing your business for the winter ahead. As well as putting energy saving measures in place to ensure your bills don’t incur a massive spike, it’s also good to have mitigation plans in place for staff and your business in case we get another snowfall like 2013.

Regardless of where you run your business, all kinds of risks exist, and SMEs are particularly vulnerable. Here are a few things you can do to start your business plan for winter:

Boilers

Has your boiler been serviced?

During the winter your boiler is going to get more use which means a higher risk of it breaking down. If it does break down you may have to use interim measures such as electric heaters which could seriously bump up your energy bills. In the worst case, you may need a new boiler, which will cost a lot more than a service.

Keeping sickness down

Winter is prime time for staff to catch the flu. With employees staying indoors more and the heating being used, it’s the perfect environment for germs to thrive.

Keep germs at bay by encouraging staff to keep the work place as clean as possible and use soap and hand sanitiser as often as they can.

The most important thing is to make sure staff who are poorly, stay at home so they don’t spread their germs around.

Make sure the office is accessible

If we do get snowfall like 2013 or temperatures plummet, you need to make sure it’s safe for staff to get in to work. Stock up early on grit or rock salt as this can sell out fast when bad weather hits. In 2013, the snow cost the UK economy a reported £500m per day as the infrastructure couldn’t cope with snow and ice.

Encourage your staff to come to work together where possible and make sure everyone is aware of alternative methods of transport to get in to work.

If staff are unable to make it in to work, try to be flexible and give them the option to work from home.

Energy saving

There are lots of ways you can protect your business without incurring too much cost.

For example, cover your water heater with a manufacturers approved blanket, fit draft excluders and seal gaps around any windows or doors. Check the insulation of your building as this can save you 5% each year.

As you will be using your lights more in the winter with the dark mornings and evenings, switch your lights to LED bulbs as these use up to 80% less as they are 20 times more efficient.

If it’s freezing or snowing outside, you can be sure staff will want it to feel cosy and warm inside. This can lead to a temperature war between employees with some wanting it warmer and some wanting it cooler. There is no legal requirement on temperatures in a work place, however it should be set above 16°C, or 13°C if it involves physical effort. Make sure there are fleeces and umbrella’s for staff who need to nip out, they can use these if they feel chilly in the office too.

Even adopting some of the above measures can help better prepare your business for winter and save you money. For more energy saving advice, visit www.npower.com/business or call 0800 197 6147.

Source:: Is your business ready for winter?