Business group issues bad weather advice

Small businesses should start planning ahead for harsh winter weather to avoid being caught out, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has advised.

Small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of bad weather, which can disrupt deliveries, trigger heating and power failures and make it difficult for employees to get to work.

The advice comes as a cold snap sweeps across the UK and extreme weather events - such as flooding - occur more frequently.

FPB spokesman Robert Downes said: "Recent winters have demonstrated just how susceptible the UK is to extreme weather, and the cost to business quickly runs into millions. When infrastructure grinds to a halt and staff can't get to work it can be a body blow to small firms, and those businesses with the least staff are hit the hardest."

Figures from YouGov revealed that snowy conditions have impacted 37 per cent of small and medium sized businesses at some point. In particular, heavy snow in 2010 caused problems for 34 per cent of workers getting to work, with 10 per cent unable to get in at all.

Downes said it was 'essential' that small and micro businesses do all they can to mitigate the impact of bad weather. Advice from the FPB includes:

  • Allowing staff to work from home - this could include providing computers and setting up remote access to servers and company emails
  • 'Weatherproofing' businesses - this may include lagging water pipes to prevent them from bursting
  • Insurance - this should cover both property damage and any drop in turnover that could occur as a result.