As we enter April, the snow is still rearing its ugly head, with winters in the UK getting colder and harsher we are falling further behind in our preparations for the snow. When the worst of the snow hit us in February, the country was brought to a standstill, with one fifth of the employed population not making it work.
Business groups estimate that one day of this winter’s snowfall could cost businesses around £1bn. If 20% of the country have a productivity of zero, this will cost around £900m every day.
This is a conservative estimate, which does not take into account the knock-on effect your lack of productivity has on other businesses who are not directly affected by the snow. If many businesses are relying on you to go about their day to day operation, they are not going to look to kindly on you ceasing operations, if they have managed to battle through.
Our winters are seemingly getting worse every year, yet every year we find ourselves being caught out. Many public sector officials are admitting that we are simply not prepared for snow, however they are reluctant to spend money on new measures unless they are positive they will be needed.
The unpredictable nature of British weather means that expensive snowploughs sitting idle throughout the whole winter is a possibility. The trends in our weather patterns, however, suggest that they will be a wise investment.
Accident and emergency departments have been flooded with people suffering sprains and fractures by falling in the snow. The burden on hospitals has been so great that many routine surgeries have been cancelled to free up resources for orthopaedic surgery. When people are falling over and injuring themselves, legal action no doubt follows, so it is important that, as a business, you fulfil your obligations.
With the right expertise and attitude we can fight back against the snow. Last winter engineer Jon Burn, who works for MITIE, braved the snow for fourteen hours to keep a generator operating. The power had been cut off from Malton Community Hospital threatening the lives of many of the patients inside. Jon’s efforts ensured that crucial medical equipment remained active, and the heating remained on, potentially saving lives of many elderly patients.
With summer approaching, it is unlikely that the disruptions will carry on for much longer. The way our climate is going, however, means it is worth investing resources in preparing for next winter. By having the right measures in place, and with the right winter services on standby, you can help ensure that your business carries on when all those around you fail.
Joe is an expert business blogger having written about a range of business related topics over the years.