Whether it’s three feet of snow, a flood or even a hurricane, inclement weather events can strike at any time. That’s why it’s essential you prepare in advance to keep your building and employees safe. This should, at the very least, include an inclement weather policy, a communication and protection plan, and company insurance.
Getting these basic things in order before bad weather hits will ensure everyone stays safe. When the storm lets up, you and the team can get back to work and be as productive as ever.
1. Plan and Create a Policy
The first step to preparing for inclement weather is to plan for it. Put a bad weather policy together outlining what weather will result in a closed office. You might also want to include specifics on how the weather will affect employee pay. Include the details in the employee handbook so your entire team has a copy. This way, when bad weather hits, they’ll already know whether or not to stay home.
Additionally, you’ll want to create a plan of action in case disaster strikes when your team is already in the office. This may include instructions for evacuating, taking shelter or camping out in the building until it’s safe to go home. Of course, this plan will vary drastically depending on your location and which natural disasters could realistically happen in your area. So, it’s important to consider the safest route of action for each weather scenario you may encounter.
2. Choose a Communication Method
Once you have a policy and plan in place, you’ll want to decide on a method of communication. How will you contact your employees in the case of bad weather? If you have a small team, you might call or text them. But if you work with a larger company, you may decide to send an email.
However you choose to communicate, be sure to let your employees know ahead of time how you will get a hold of them. It’s smart to include the specifics in the inclement weather policy.
You may also want to contact your clients or customers and notify them if you decide to close for the day. You might do this by posting a short notice on social media to inform the public or by calling key clients to inform them of the closure. This will prevent them from trekking out into dangerous conditions only to arrive at a dark, closed-up building.
3. Protect the Building
After considering the safety of your employees and customers, you should think about protecting your office space.
Weather is one of the most common causes of power outages, which can last for a few hours to a couple of days. This can wreak havoc on your electronic files and databases. Protect your devices and information by using some form of battery- or generator-powered backup to keep equipment on if you expect an outage. Likewise, if you think the weather may damage paper files, hide them away in a safe location until the storm blows over.
You might also want to prepare the building for use as a shelter if employees become trapped there due to weather. Keep a bin stocked with water, non-perishable food items, blankets, batteries and charging cables in an easily accessible place within the building. It wouldn’t hurt to keep a few board games on hand, too, just to keep boredom at bay.
4. Get Insured
Last, but certainly not least, consider insuring your business just in case the weather damages your building or its contents. Purchasing an insurance package that covers the cost of incidentals and liability claims will ensure your business makes it through the storm without going under. Your state might also require your business to have certain types of insurance already. But if you think you may need better coverage, it’s best to purchase an additional policy to protect your company.
If you’re unsure which policy is right for your business, it may be smart to speak with an agent. They can help meet your business’ needs and keep your company safe. Additionally, shop around and compare rates, terms and conditions and benefits. And don’t forget to read the fine print before you make a final decision. Prices and terms vary, so take your time and consider all your options.
When Safety Outweighs Productivity
Of course, you don’t want to close up shop when bad weather rolls in. After all, it can take a toll on productivity and your team’s output, especially in the face of a power outage or an extreme natural disaster. However, sometimes it’s best to err on the side of caution and close your office in the name of safety. Protecting your employees and yourself should always be your first priority.