Severe adverse weather conditions in the UK are uncommon but when they do occur it can seem as if the country comes to a stand still.
But with improving internet access and an array of cloud services available, most service based businesses can continue to function with almost equal levels of productivity.
Here are some things to consider when bad weather affects your organisation.
The safety of employees, customers and others should be a priority, so if adverse weather arrives during the working day, the welfare and wellbeing of people needs to be top of the list.
Consider increased risks
Water, Snow, Ice, and Wind can all increase the risks of performing normal business tasks, such as using the road network to commute or go to meetings. So these increased risks should be considered.
If the risks (Impact, Severity, Likelihood) have moved beyond an acceptable level, consider alternative working methods or simply postpone for another day.
Keep people comfortable.
While not life threatening, uncomfortable people can escalate a situation quickly, so simple things like warmth, lighting, hot drinks and snacks can help ‘ride a storm’.
Communicate early and clearly through a pre-agreed channel.
Any decisions that you make about implementing home working should really be made before staff set out on their commute to the workplace. This is where having a rough knowledge of peoples’ commuter patterns can be useful, as it sets the timeframe for decision making.
Clearly assign the Authority to make a decision.
While a group discussion is useful to gain additional information about a developing weather and transport situation, it should be clearly communicated who has the authority to make decisions, and those decisions should be communicated to all relevant parties, both internal and external.
Conduct a Business Impact Analysis before it happens.
Sometimes things do go wrong, and you need to focus on business continuity. A business impact analysis will help you focus your attentions in the right area, by highlighting the activities and people in your business who will be most affected.
From there, you can plan a response to scenarios such as heavy snow, and ensure you have the right resources available.
Test your Response Plans.
When you have planned for a disruptive event, it’s important to test those plans before you need to rely on them!
This doesn’t need to cause a lot of disruption. You could do a tabletop exercise where you talk through a scenario.
Alternatively, test elements of your plan that you will rely on during an event, such as people’s ability to connect to the office network from home or posting an all staff message via the agree messaging system.
While the above suggestions only provide a handful of suggestions, you can take a structured approach to managing bad weather, and other disruptions, making your organisation more resilient.
A Quality Management System to ISO 9001 will help you really understand how your business operates and using process diagrams you can build the foundation of a management system.
ISO 45001 is the international standard for Occupational Health & Safety Management, and provides a framework for managing risks and hazards in your organisation. This will provide you with the tools you need to assess and manage risks, including under emergency conditions.
Business Continuity Management is also a growing discipline which contributes to Organisational Resilience. A simple Business Impact Analysis and Business Continuity Plan may be enough, but if you want to take the ISO framework further, ISO 22301 provides the tools.
Assent Risk Management is experienced in working with all sizes and types of business, in all the areas discussed above. We build solutions that fit your business, and can help you take these forward to recognised ISO Certifications, if required.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.