Winter is fast approaching, but there’s still time for small-business owners to prepare. To protect your business, employees and customers, take these four steps to prepare for winter.
1. Maintain Your Property
During the winter months, snow and ice can create potentially hazardous conditions for your employees and customers. Treating fall-related injuries costs Canadians an estimated $2.8 billion per year, so it’s important to maintain your property. Remove ice and snow as soon as possible, and apply salt or sand as needed. To help visitors navigate potentially slippery conditions, ensure your outdoor areas, such as walkways and parking lots, are well lit.
2. Inspect Your HVAC System
Some Canadian jurisdictions have laws about minimum indoor temperatures, but even in workplaces where these laws don’t apply, it’s smart to keep your employees comfortable in the frigid winter months. To ensure your building’s heating system is up to the task, get it inspected before the temperature drops. Fall is a great time to change the filters or perform other small repairs. If larger problems are discovered, there’s time to replace the system before winter.
3. Revisit Your Insurance Policy
Winter storms can cause roof damage, frozen pipes and other problems, so before the cold weather arrives, revisit your insurance policy. Get a copy of the policy and check what types of damage are covered. If necessary, make changes to the policy to ensure your business is covered. Take photographs of the building and its contents so that you’re prepared to file a claim.
4. Create a Severe Weather Policy
Blizzards, ice storms and snow squalls can leave employees wondering what to do, so before winter arrives, create a severe weather policy that answers their questions. Identify the weather conditions, such as snowfall totals or temperatures, that will make you close your business. Decide how you’ll let employees know about the closure. If it makes sense for your business, let employees work from home on these days. Set up remote logins, file sharing utilities and video conferencing apps so employees are prepared to be productive on snow days.
Winter will be here before you know it, so be proactive and take steps to prepare your business for the cold, snowy conditions.