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Preparing your small business for winter

SMEs make up 99.9% of businesses in the UK and employ 16.6 million people, with an estimated turnover of £2.2 trillion*. These figures put into perspective just how significant a risk severe winter weather can pose to the business itself, the staff it employs, and the economy.

Recent years have illustrated just how unpredictable UK weather can be. Winter storms, floods, high winds, ice and snow can all affect businesses, cause power outages and delay transport. Severe weather can also cause damage to roads, bridges, building foundations, structures, and stock, meaning the impact on your business could be long term.

The best thing that you can do to prepare for winter is put together a plan of action that should allow you to operate in all but the most severe conditions.

There are two crucial aspects to consider: your people and your premises. Any business would find it nearly impossible to function without either or both of these things.


In order to reduce the risk, you could:


·      Conduct regular maintenance checks of your premises. In cold periods, pipes have been known to burst, so make sure that you regularly have them serviced and keep hot water flowing through them. Having your roof checked can also save you problems with condensation, ice build ups, and leaks.


·      Investigate remote working for your staff. Modern technology systems make working from home easy and cost-effective, and could also mean bypassing problems such as unnecessary travel and lost working hours altogether.


·      Consider a ‘bad weather policy’ that sets out exactly what’s reasonably expected of both you and your staff in these circumstances, such as whether to travel to work. Make sure it covers issues like pay and holiday entitlement if workers have to stay at home.


·      Carry out a risk assessment of the areas outside your office (paths, car parking etc) and grit them when necessary. Employees and visitors to your premises could claim against your business if they slip and hurt themselves. Make sure you have both public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance in place to cover claims, just in case.


·      Get your heating system serviced and consider getting some emergency heaters as well. Employees can’t work if it’s freezing inside.


·      Look at a good business interruption insurance policy. It can help with the costs of disruption and gives cover for lost income if you’re affected by a burst pipe or if your office is inaccessible.


Doing this now will really focus your mind on what exactly needs to be done to keep your business operating. It’s always better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario rather than taking a chance and keeping your fingers crossed.

If the worse does happen, you can mitigate your loss or damages by having the right insurance cover for your business.


We offer a personal service and can talk you through possible scenarios your specific business may encounter and ensure that you have adequate cover in place. Give us a call on 01392 797 733 or email us to talk this through.


*Statistics from Federation of Small Business 

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