Forecasters have issued early warnings to prepare for sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions across the entire UK this winter. Before the cold weather hits, now is a good time to take a fresh look at your business and evaluate the ways you are currently working to see if you can improve your efficiency and boost productivity during the adverse conditions. Planning for the impact of severe weather and transport network failure does not need to be costly. With a small amount of time and investment, you can transform the way your business works so that not everyone is office dependant during times of weather disruption.

In previous winters, the cost of the prolonged wet and cold weather borne by the UK’s small business community was estimated to reach £174 million, caused by inability to trade, primarily because staff found themselves unable to get to work.

Severe weather and the impact on transport networks can often leave your employees running late at best, and clients unable to reach you. Cancelled business trips and difficulty getting to work can also result in reduced productivity and have a huge impact on delivery of services. Depending on the nature of your product or service, technology can be cleverly utilised to mitigate this risk.

Initiatives as simple as choosing laptops or tablets instead of desktops for your employees are a good place to start. But it’s also vitally important to make sure your employees are connected as possible, whether it’s through a secure broadband connection or a fast 4G mobile service. Superfast connectivity is changing the way businesses of all sizes work, enabling employers to set up staff to work remotely with reliable, fast file access from anywhere, allowing face-to-face meetings with colleagues and clients to be conducted over the web and large documents to be delivered by email rather than post or courier.

Mobile and remote working tools make it possible to be productive in almost any location and the cloud has never been more accessible. Cloud based office software such as Microsoft Office 365 allows applications and data to be stored in a central location on the web, greatly expanding the possibilities for working away from the office.

There’s no time like the present to see how this technology can help your business to adapt and respond to the great British weather this winter.

By Paul Lawton, General Manager of SMB at O2 Business