Autumn has finally faded into winter and we are already starting to feel the chill. Now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are out of the way, we face those long, cold weeks leading up to Christmas.

They can be some of the most trying weeks of the year, as the weather makes the journey to and from work that much more unpleasant and the work environment itself starts to feel a little too cold all of a sudden.

With the right attitude, however, it’s quite possible to prepare your business for winter without giving in to the weather and without spending a fortune.

Be prepared

The first thing is to be proactive. Several issues can arise in the winter months at a business. An icy floor, for example, can lead to workers slipping and injuring themselves, so be proactive and keep a bag of grit to hand for when those really icy spells hit.

With the temperature rising and falling, the pipes in the building are also liable to burst so make sure you’ve called in a gas safe registered heating engineer to service your boiler and make sure your pipes are properly insulated. It’s a case of being able to predict the worst and ensure that it doesn’t happen.

Additional free-standing heaters might also be a wise investment, as some employees might require more heat than others.

Have a policy in place

All businesses should have an adverse weather policy in place and must ensure that employees are aware of it and understand it. The policy should make clear exactly what your business deems adverse weather and in what capacity employees will be allowed to leave, should the need arise.

There should also be a return to work procedures in place, which might include helping employees out with alternative travel arrangements.

Keep the heat

The office should be kept at an absolute minimum of 12C if a freeze has been forecast, even when there is nobody in the office. It’s also a good idea to keep all internal doors open to help the warm air circulate.

Homework isn’t a dirty word

A worker who is told to have the day working from home is far more likely to be a productive worker than a worker who had to suffer through a two-hour train journey to the office because there was ice on the rails. The advent of readily available high-speed internet means there are more remote workers than ever before.

By utilising cloud computing and reliable content management systems, not to mention video conferencing, it’s quite possible to have an employee working from home that’s just as productive as an employee sat being cold and miserable in the office.

Cover those mouths!

Aside from the weather, one of the greatest foils to a productive winter is the dreaded winter cold. So, ensure the office is stocked with plenty of tissues and hand sanitiser! It’s in your best interests to keep the office as germ-free as possible.

Read the news

It’s easier than ever before to keep abreast of the latest weather forecasts thanks to our smartphones and perpetual internet access.

Always try to keep one eye on that forecast and make plans accordingly. Encourage your staff to do likewise and ensure they have alternative travel arrangements already taken care of, should the weather take a serious turn. On that note, if the police have issued a warning not to travel unless completely necessary, this should always be considered seriously.

Check the roof

Before the season truly takes its toll, get up on your roof and check for loose tiling, as once the bad weather sets in, a loose tile could lead to some serious problems. While you’re up there, make sure any debris is swept aside too and check to see if the guttering is clogged as if this is allowed to build upon with water, it can leak into the roof.

Of course, if you are not comfortable working on the roof, there are plenty of keen tradesmen and professional contractors who will be willing to help you out.

Finally, remember that your employees are your greatest asset. In the case of winter preparation, it’s all about ensuring backup employees are trained to handle crucial roles if other team members should fall sick, and that they are recognised for their fortitude when they manage to make it into work, despite the adverse weather conditions. After all, who doesn’t love a little bit of encouragement and praise during the festive season?