By Claire West

Businesses that are prepared for the worst of the weather will find the next few weeks more bearable than those companies which have failed to forward plan, says Denis Palmer, Business Advisor, at Business Link in London:

Despite half the country seemingly grinding to a halt this week, there are simple measures that companies can put in place to remain productive when bad weather hits, or other crises such as transport strikes, prevent employees from reaching the office.

• Forward planning is key and it is essential that all employees are aware of how the company would react if such an event takes place. For example, if public transport fails, is the company prepared to pay for a staff member’s taxi to work?
• Ensure that all supervisors have contact details for office-based staff. In the event the office is closed, it is easy to contact staff first thing in the morning and communicate who will be working from home that day. On the call, agree deliverables and outcomes for the day and if personal email addresses are included on the contact sheets, work can be emailed across to colleagues.
• With a plan such as this is in place, staff will find working from home to be more productive as they will know in advance what to work on. It is still possible for sales calls to be made or employees may choose to work on a report they are writing.
• Where staff need access to company IT systems from home, the company will need to implement some security precautions. Advice on this from Business Link in London can be found at: www.businesslink.gov.uk/london/ITsecurityworkingathome