Cold Weather Tips For Small Business Owners
While small business owners are generally a tough bunch, there are things that are beyond their control, from the government to natural disasters, that they need to be prepared to face in order to preserve the strength of their business. One of these external issues that can severely effect a business is the extremely cold weather that many parts of the US experience in late winter. Business owners should take note that, before they do anything to protect their small business, they need to ensure that they and their families are dry, warm, and out of the path of dangerous weather, with enough supplies to last them through whatever period of time they may need to stay indoors.
If possible, get your business location ready in advance of inclement weather. Things to do in order to prep for extreme cold are checking to see if any of the electrical wiring, water or gas lines to the building are in danger of freezing or being damaged by falling snow, as well as sealing exits and windows that are not being used with insulating materials, being sure to block up the cracks in door frames and window panes. Stopping up the tiny cracks where there are exits to your location can make a surprisingly large difference in the amount of heat that is able to escape. Another important step in preparing is to store some emergency supplies on location in the event that you or one of your employees becomes stranded on location during a storm or power outage. Canned goods and a propane stove, as well as space blankets, some wool clothing and flares and a shovel are good place to start.
If you are going to shut your business down in the cold, schedule check ups if possible. After a storm, if it is possible to check on your business, you or an employee who lives near your business should go and take stock of any damages as well as shovel off the roof in the event that heavy snows have settled. The cumulative effect of heavy snows has the potential to collapse a roof, so if you feel there is a danger of structural damage to your business, do what you can when it is safe to go outside.
Warn your employees of the dangers of cold weather. Extreme cold can be very dangerous, and as a business owner it is your responsibility to let your employees know the risks inherent in coming to work on days when there is a threat of a heavy storm or already heavy snow cover on the ground. In situations where commuting routes have been shut down, it can be additionally dangerous to demand that your employees come in to an office or retail location. In order to maintain productivity and reduce liability, you should create some protocols for working at home during weather emergencies that you can enact in the event of inclement weather.
Photo Credit to Steve Webster on Flickr