Don’t let your business take a battering from the bad weather

citynumbers-snow-carThe weather at this time of year can show no mercy when it comes to your business. Blanket snow across the north and Scotland, along with heavy winds and the icy cold around the rest of the country, can be incredibly disruptive when trying to kick-off the early part of the year with a bang. In 2010 for example, when a freeze hit the UK, the Office of National Statistics stated that the economy shrank by 0.5%.

Retail business models need customers to visit their stores, business deals may be dependent on a face-to-face client meetings at an office; but when Mother Nature decides to give us the cold shoulder, doing either can be impossible.

Of course customers may be able to shop online and clients can pick up the phone, but if it’s your staff who risk having the problem of getting to work, then you might be snookered. Trains don’t run to schedule at the best of times and some of Britain’s busiest roads better resemble a car park at rush hour, but when the snow and ice hit, the country grinds to a screeching halt.

You can’t control the weather, but there’s no excuse for not preparing for every eventuality by putting the correct tools and procedures in place so businesses can continue to function effectively. (despite the conditions). Here are a few bits of advice and suggestions that can come in handy when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

  • Ensure your business has a home working policy in place: When staff can’t reach the office, plans must be there to guide them prior to crises such as bad weather. Whose job will it be to inform suppliers the office won’t be open to accept deliveries? Who will rearrange meetings for days when the weather is better? Points such as these need to be sorted well before the crisis happens. It’s also worth investigating employment policies on severe weather conditions so you can understand legally what is required of employees during these times.
  • Divert your calls: Sleet and snow won’t stop customers wanting to ask questions over the phone or clients wanting to discuss complex business deals. But if you can’t get to the office, how are you going to answer the phone? Simple – use call divert. If you’re forced to work from home you can have calls diverted to any number you like such as your home phone or mobile number, meaning you won’t lose any important orders or business deals. It’s a handy tool to have in place all year round and will ensure you never miss a call. Speak to one of our team about online management and how to divert your calls in an emergency.
  • Audio conferencing: If employees need to hold a crisis meeting to discuss any immediate business concerns or priorities for the day in the absence of being able to be present in the office boardroom, then an audio conferencing service is the way to go in addressing this issue. We offer a secure service available 24 hour a day, so whenever there is a crisis, employees can easily communicate via dialling into the system.
  • A number says everything: Every business should appear an established, polished enterprise and the phone number a company uses can say a lot about it. Local numbers can be used by companies who want to appeal to an area of the UK where they don’t have a physical presence. So if it’s flooded or snowing where you are, that doesn’t mean it is where some of your customers might be. Having that local number in place won’t turn any prospective custom away and will ensure profits can still be maximised even when the areas around HQ are in turmoil.
  • Fax to email: Make no mistake, the fax is well and truly still alive and in some more heavily regulated industries, it’s an essential for legal documents. Internet faxing means you can send and receive faxes via email so your important business documents can be received anywhere, even when you can’t access the office fax machine when trapped away from the office.

The weather in the UK is truly amazing. We experience four diverse seasons and find ourselves talking about the weather every day. On the other hand it can have a major impact on your business. Leaves can stop trains, snow and ice make journeys impossible, rain floods our towns and villages and the sun makes us want to work from the park. Don’t fear how the weather will impact your company – embrace the technology that will allow your business to be flexible and flourish when conditions are extreme. Speak to us today about disaster recovery and flexible routing of your calls.

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