When dangerous conditions make it challenging to come to work, it’s important to plan, equip, and train employees to prevent injuries. Developing a contingency plan that pays equal consideration to the health of your employees and the health of your business is key.

Assess the risks

Depending on the nature of your business, bad weather may lead you to take different courses of action. For instance, if you work in an office environment, you’re not faced with the same risks and potential damage as a construction business. Regardless, you’ll want to consider the logistics of keeping the office open, asking employees to commute to work, and whether public transportation is running.

On the other hand,  if you own a facility, you’ll have considerably more to plan for. Make sure employees are properly trained to reduce risk when doing maintenance and consider reading OSHA’s Winter Weather guide to working in the face of winter weather hazards.

Come up with a contingency plan

Consider each and every potential hurdle your company might face in a severe snowstorm. Be proactive in developing a plan of action.

“Having a plan for winter weather is not really different from having a disaster plan for your business,” says CEO Peter J. Creedon of Crystal Brook Advisors. “You need to consider not only your clients but your staff’s safety, your business reputation, and bottom line. A good business owner considers the variables of weather and balances the health, safety, welfare of the staff and business. Business reputation and common sense need to be balanced. A small business needs its staff and considering what if’s is just good business planning.”

Identify key team members who will be vital to the development and implementation of a full-on contingency plan. Discuss your preparedness for difficult weather, and how to combat the challenging factors that could halt operations. Make sure to gather everyone’s contact information in order to communicate in case of an emergency.

Minimize the disruption

Consider ways to minimize the disruption poor weather might bring. For instance, in situations where employees are snowed in or otherwise stranded, making your records accessible remotely will enable them to work from home. Many businesses that operate in an office environment back up their records and document storage on the cloud for 24/7 access. This enables the company to work outside the confines of the office and ensures that data remains intact.

If you or your employees need to secure your worksite or maintain basic operations, you may need to look for a source of alternative power if power lines go down, like relying on a power generator. Doing a little research, you can find plenty of workarounds to any logistical issues you could encounter.

Make safety a priority

Consider whether it’s worth asking your employees to come in during bad weather. “For a company blanket policy, if someone has a problem with the weather, they just need to let me know and they can work from home,” says AJ Saleem, the head of startup tutoring company Suprex Tutors Houston. “As for working from home, they are required to stay close to their phone and be ready to respond to any inquiries.”

Make sure you pay employees accurately for their hours worked with FingerCheck, a cloud-based time tracking system that makes it simple for employees to clock in remotely. All timesheet data is securely stored online for anytime access. Follow us on all our social channels for more HR-related information and tips.

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