Winter can pose a range of difficult working conditions. From the guys on the construction site to cleaning and security staff across various commercial buildings, it’s important to ensure their safety in all weather conditions.
Here, we look at five ways to ensure your workplace and workforce are prepared for the winter months.
1. Prevent Slips and Falls
Falling over on icy surfaces must be the number one concern for employees during the winter months. Being prepared and ensuring all walkways, car parks and access points have been salted or gritted keeps snow and ice from freezing on the ground. If the weather is particularly bad, then having a plan for snow and ice removal in place ensures employees and customers can still access the building safely. RFM make sure we deliver the winter stock of salt and grit to our customers before the weather turns, to ensure they’re prepared for the icy weather. We would also recommend investing in good quality absorbent matting at a building’s entrance to help keep ice-melt residue from being trodden in.
Having task or flood lighting in place during the dark winter mornings and evenings, ensuring all work areas and access routes are well lit, dramatically reduces the risk of site staff slipping in poorly lit spaces as well as ensuring as much work as possible can continue so you’re able to keep to deadlines.
2. Sign-up for Weather Alerts
There are several weather apps and websites that you can sign-up for to keep ahead of any storm warnings, alerts and updates. Knowing ahead of a severe weather event enables you to have a plan in place and keep employees informed. Advising staff to allow extra time for journeys or alerting construction staff to wear appropriate footwear and extra layers can all ensure that a business is able to keep running smoothly with as minimal disruption as possible.
Winter weather can cause all sorts of disruptions to your business, such as power outages, road closures, and employees being unable to make it to work. To minimize the impact of these disruptions, it’s important to have a plan in place to deal with them. This might include having a generator on hand to keep your business running in the event of a power outage, or having a remote working policy in place for employees who can’t make it to the office.
3. Prepare your Office Building
In severe weather conditions, it is important that your office building can keep running. Frozen or burst pipes and faulty boilers are all major causes of expensive plumbing bills or even worse… structural damage bills! Ensure that boilers are regularly serviced, and the building is carefully checked for drafts, leaks and cracks – especially on rooves and around doors and windows. If you’re unsure how best to check for these signs then why not get a specialist company to come and give your building a winter health check?
4. Guard your Technology and Data
Power outages can be costly, so it’s critical to back-up all company data and documentation. Whether you use onsite, off-site or cloud service hosting, ensure your system is working properly before any bad weather hits, just in-case staff need to be able to recover their work. Smart buildings often involve multiple technologies and systems – make sure these are protected too.
Also, ensuring staff can access files and emails remotely could prove useful if they are unable to get to work and means they can work securely from a different location. Our account managers are often out visiting customers, so they are equipped with tablets, meaning they can continue their duties whatever their location, including if they’re unable to travel because of bad weather.
5. Evaluate winter costs
Labour can be the biggest cost of winter maintenance; therefore, it is vital on any construction project that adverse weather conditions and the effect they may have on the number of work hours are considered. Clever forward planning and experienced project management mean that jobs can be carefully planned and correctly costed.
The cost and proper use of winter products should be taken into account when looking after the maintenance of any building and its grounds. For example, grit or rock salt can be easily sourced and at a low price, but it can be slow to melt and may cause harm to grass and plants, which would then be costly to replace.
5 Bonus Tips To Get Your Business Ready for Winter
Winter can be a challenging time for businesses, especially those that operate outdoors or in areas that experience harsh weather conditions. However, with the right preparation, it is possible to keep your business running smoothly and minimize disruptions caused by the winter months. Here are some tips to help you prepare your business for winter:
1. Check your heating and insulation
One of the most important things to do when preparing your business for winter is to make sure that your boiler and heating system are in good working order. This means having your furnace or boiler serviced, and ensuring that it is properly insulated to keep heat inside the building. Additionally, you should check that all windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent drafts.
2. Stock up on winter essentials
Another important aspect of preparing your business for winter is to make sure you have enough of the essentials on hand. This might include de-icing salt, snow shovels, and warm clothing and blankets for employees who work outdoors. It’s also a good idea to keep a stock of non-perishable food and water on hand in case of power outages or other disruptions caused by winter weather.
3. Communicate with your customers
Another important aspect of preparing your business for winter is to communicate any potential disruptions to your customers. This might include posting updates on your website or social media accounts, sending out an email or text alerts, or even putting up signs in your store. By keeping your customers informed, you can help minimize any inconvenience caused by winter weather.
4. Make sure your website is ready for winter
Winter is a great time to make sure your website is optimized for winter weather. This might include adding a page of winter-specific products and services, such as road gritting, or making sure your site can handle an increase in traffic from people looking for information about your business.
5. Check your insurance
Finally, it’s important to check your insurance coverage to make sure you’re protected against potential losses caused by winter weather. This might include coverage for damage caused by snow and ice, or business interruption insurance to help cover your losses if your business is forced to close due to winter weather.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your business is well-prepared for the winter months and minimize any disruptions caused by harsh weather conditions.
Turn to Property Exerts in the Winter
At RFM we take great care to work with our customers to ensure we provide the best service by advising on all elements of preparing the workplace for winter. Our experienced account management team ensure that the buildings we maintain are all fully prepared, our project management team ensure the health and safety of all site staff is their number one priority in order to deliver projects on time, and of course we ensure our own office buildings and staff are suitably looked after.