Many businesses, particularly those in the north of England, have fallen foul of extreme wet weather this winter, which has caused damage to equipment and costly downtime, directly effecting sales and the all-important bottom-line.
In the event of a flood, or any other disaster, your first priority is of course to keep staff safe. Next on the list is preventing downtime and ensuring the businesses sales function remains in-tact. To do this you need a robust plan in place, which covers a range of eventualities. Appoint someone in charge of this plan, which should cover the following:
- Moving essential equipment (such as PCs) to a higher level, away from the flood water. If your work environment has multiple floors, it may be that you can keep your business running up high, while lower ground flood water is being dealt with.
- Setting up alternative premises where possible. While not an option for every company, if all you need is the internet and some desks, have a back-up work space lined-up. There are plenty of workspaces to rent, with short term ‘hot desk’ options available.
- Make sure your customers are aware of the situation and if it’s ‘business as usual’ allay any fears. Social media can be a great way of informing a wide group, and is also a useful tool when it comes to finding out about flooding issues affecting your area.
- Compile a contact list of support for emergencies. Apart from the emergency services, this could include IT support, your local council and the Environment Agency. Dealing with a problem quickly will limit the impact on sales, so is money and time well spent.
If you haven’t done so already, get your business backed-up on the ‘cloud’, that way you can keep things running from anywhere you have internet access. Apart from working in alternative premises, by using cloud-based technology, staff may be able to keep your business operational from home.
Are you at risk?
If your business hasn’t been flooded yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. A flood risk assessment can predict a sites potential for flooding up to 60 years down the line. In the short-term, signing up for the Environment Agencies flood alerts, will help you keep aware of imminent danger. If you know a floods coming, you can put in place plans to keep your business running before the flood water hits.
As we enter the drier part of the year it’s easy to forget what lies in store in the autumn and winter months. Complacency costs, however, and good business planning should cover every eventuality – be that flooding, or some other disaster, which could see downtime causing loss of sales and damaged client relationships.
By Alan Scrafton, Group Sales and Marketing Manager, Adler and Allan . They provide flood mitigation, including SoakBags, a lightweight, polymer gel alternative to Sand bags and response services, available 24/7, 365 days a year. For more information, visit their website.