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Living in the Midwest from late Fall into early Spring can pose the potential of business interruptions due to winter conditions. From slips and falls to physical damage to a business’s building to extreme driving conditions, the threats are almost everywhere for every business. You can prevent the impact of these by utilizing precautions for your employees and customers, your physical business, the flow of your business, and the safety involved with travel.

First is the safety of your biggest assets, your employees and customers. If you have a company that services your facility, make sure you meet with them before, during, and after the season to discuss what is working and what needs to be improved. Have a plan in place to shovel those high foot traffic areas of your building and apply salt to sidewalks, driveways, loading docks, parking lots, and external stairways of your business. Have designated personnel available to mop up wet spots inside your building and have mats readily available or a dryer present to maintain clear and clean floors.

Next, create a business continuity plan in case you may have bursting or freezing pipes or have a loss of heat or electricity.  If you rent your office space, understand who is responsible for external building procedures. Are you included in the plan with your plow company? What is the process if somebody slips outside? Do your employees know the process? During major snow events is the roof checked to make sure load limits are not compromised? You can be out if front of it by thinking through the potentials and planning through those.

Also, determine your best course of action if employees cannot make it into work on time or at all. Is there a process to communicate to employees if the business will not be open? Is there a process to communicate to customers and vendors? If you do lose electricity or heat what are the options to maintain business flow? Can your business flex the hours of operation to earlier or later or to potentially a different day that you may not normally operate?

Lastly, plan ahead and have contingency plans for inclement weather with travel. Make sure all company vehicles have been checked for winter driving conditions including tire wear. Can meetings be moved when necessary to different times or days? If traveling distances, are overnight accommodations an option to be closer to the destination before a storm hits? It is critical to have communication lines open before, during, and after a storm with your employees that are on the road and to ensure they feel safe with the decisions being made.

In conclusion, you have a lot to think about on a daily basis with your business. Planning and being able to foresee potential obstacles is how we can help your business succeed. Knowing what your options are and knowing what your current insurance covers are critical to being successful and avoiding business disasters in the winter and throughout the entire year. Connect with us to advise and partner with you to help make your business is more successful.

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