It may still be pleasantly mild and suspiciously sunny at the moment for an English October but let’s not get too comfortable in our short-sleeve shirts and sock-less ensembles. Things can change pretty quickly here in Blighty and we can go from ice cream to icicles in less than an hour so it’s important that as a business owner, you are fully prepared for the winter season to keep your company afloat and your workforce happy.
Be understanding about flexible working
As an employee and as a fellow colleague working in Britain, it’s important to understand and accept that with Christmas films and endless mince pies also comes adverse weather conditions and disruptions to workplace equilibrium. This disarray is most commonly caused by transport failures due to snow, high winds and icy roads so remote working and flexible working hours might be something you will need to permit for your employees during the winter season.
Working from home doesn’t mean your staff are secretly plotting a mass bunk off to build snowmen and sip cocoa by the fire and you can keep tabs on this by employing some simple but effective management techniques. A member of staff who can go about their regular working day from the comfort of their own home is going to be far more cooperative and productive than one who resents you for making them sit through a three hour traffic jam. Modern technology means you can stay in touch throughout the day with complete ease so you can check in and ensure that everything is as it should be and it’s all business as usual.
Put some contingency plans in place
While your employees are stuck in extreme weather-induced traffic jams, they’ll likely be nose to tail with the maintenance companies who would otherwise be able to hop in their vans and fix any faulty devices or software within hours.
Bad weather causes all kinds of issues with technology, electricity and power but those who can remedy them might be unable to reach you so it’s important that you have a plan B in place before it’s too late. For example, back your important data, client details and employee information on a central cloud-based server which can be accessed should your systems decide to break down.
Make sure you provide adequate heating
Winter is typically a great time for many businesses as far as sales are concerned, thanks to the seasonal spending boom when customers are more willing to splash out some of the cash they have been squirreling away all year round. However it’s not always such good news for the staff who are stuck behind the scenes, shivering away at their computers, making endless cups of tea and coffee just to stay below freezing point.
If you’ve ever worked in a job where it becomes physically impossible to type because your fingers have frozen stiff, you’ll know how crucial it is to make sure your working environment is warm and comfortable enough to work in. The Approved Code of Practice states that the minimum temperature of a workplace should be at least 16°C, unless the work involves rigorous physical activity when it should then be 13°C.
So depending on the size of your workplace, the type of building and the number of people working in it, you need to shop around to find the most efficient and cost-effective method of heating for you. High ceilings, carpets, bare brick walls and the level of insulation are the types of variable that will dictate what type of heating you will need but be sure to factor this extra electric expense into your budgets for the colder months.
Provide additional employee incentives
Sitting down all day at a desk does nothing for keeping the blood pumping and warmth is a pretty basic human requirement but you can also lay on a few more additional incentives to keep your employees chipper during the gloomy weather. Get in the festive spirit of generosity and give your staff some extra reasons to smile at 8.30am after they’ve dragged themselves out of their cosy beds into a blustery mid-winter morning.
This doesn’t have to take up too much time, energy or resources either. Simply providing some pastries and coffee as a breakfast treat every now and then could be all it takes to shake off those pesky winter blues. Happy staff make for a productive workforce and we all know the best way to anybody’s heart when it’s cold outside is by filling their stomachs with seasonal treats!
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