Four Winter Challenges Your Business Should Prepare For
As a business owner, you know the cold brings a unique set of challenges with it. Winter weather creates treacherous conditions both inside and outside your company’s walls. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just sprinkle some salt on your walkways and call it winter prep. Instead, you need to be proactive in handling winter hazards while also budgeting in case your business experiences seasonal lulls.
In this post, we’ll discuss four challenges that winter will force upon your business and how to best prepare for them.
Is Your Business Prepared for These Winter Challenges?
1. Safety Concerns
Winter weather can turn even the shortest commute into a nightmare. In fact, according to the United States Department of Transportation, more than a quarter of all weather-related accidents are caused by ice or snow-covered pavement.
If you employ drivers, you need to know when to get them off the roads. It’s not worth risking an accident and injury just to make a few more deliveries. In addition, winter weather can make sidewalks and staircases around your business’s location potential legal hazards. Slip and fall injuries increase greatly in the winter time, and you could open yourself up to a lawsuit if you don’t maintain your property. It’s also important to note that slip and fall accidents are also the top cause of worker compensation claims in the U.S., so make sure you treat all surfaces to prevent ice buildup.
2. Loss of Sales
Unless you sell snow shovels and rock salt, chances are that winter weather will cause a decline in sales, especially if you have a physical store that customers need to drive to. Or, if your r business’s busy season is the summer, you need to be prepared for the lean, colder months. Still, that doesn’t mean you need to hibernate or fly south for the winter; instead, prepare for cash to not be as readily available. Many businesses hire seasonal employees that work only during the booming times and then go back to skeleton crews once the temperature starts to drop. To successfully follow a budget for the winter months, create a yearly business plan that will help you manage during both boom and bust periods.
3. Property Damage from Inclement Weather
Winter weather doesn’t just make walkways and roads slippery – it can cause serious damage to your business’s building. Cold temperatures often lead to frozen pipes, and heavy ice or snow can send trees (or even your roof) tumbling to the ground.
To prevent winter property damage, do an inspection during the fall and make sure your roof, doors, and windows are sturdy enough to last through the winter. In addition, proper insulation and heat circulation will keep your pipes from bursting. Still, you should expect the unexpected, so make sure you review your insurance policy and find out what you are and aren’t covered for.
4. Low Employee Morale
Let’s face it, winter is a dreary season and it’s hard to get excited when the sun sets at 5pm. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects most of its victims during the late fall or early winter time. When coupled with a lull in sales, this can create morale problems in the workplace.
To keep your employees motivated and engaged, you might need to put in extra effort during the winter months. For instance, make sure the workplace is comfortable with heaters, has hot coffee available, and schedule a few extra team-oriented events to give your team something to look forward to.
Another factor to consider is winter storms that put employees’ safety at risk as they commute to and from work. Although you shouldn’t let your employees stay home if one snowflake hits the ground, it’s also important not to force them to brave the elements when conditions are rough. Your employees’ safety should be the top priority, and they’ll take notice if you make this evident to them!
Bring on the Winter Months!
Winter can be a drag, but hopefully you can use these tips to create a happy and healthy workplace during the coldest time of the year. Always remember to take extra safety precautions around this time, both for your workers physical AND mental health, in addition to protecting your business from lawsuits.
Do you have any other winter-related tips? Share them with us in the comment section below!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.