Your car is buried. The roads are impassable. Heck, you can’t even open your front door with so much snow piled up on your porch. It’s definitely a “snow day.” But what is an unexpected break from school for the kids can be downright costly and disruptive for business owners.
Before you start calculating your losses, there are ways to stay operational even when it’s impossible to get to the office. All is not lost, and with these helpful hints, you might find that a snow day can be as productive and profitable as any other.
Prepare in Advance
A plan for staying running during and after a snowstorm should be made long before the first snowflake falls. Having an action plan – in which someone is made responsible for releasing announcements and keeping everyone updated – is the key to responding seamlessly to weather issues. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of keeping mobile phones charged and backing up your list of contacts in more than one place so that you can access them if you’re unable to get to your office.
Communicate with Employees
A storm can strand one neighborhood under a blanket of snow and ice while leaving another one virtually unaffected. You can’t assume that everyone is unable to get to the office just because it looks like the North Pole outside your window. After determining who can and who can’t get to the office, you can decide whether or not you need to implement your snow day action plan.
Update Your Clients
Local clients might assume that you’re out of the office if they’re dealing with similar conditions, but others outside your area probably have no idea. Call forwarding to a home or mobile number will ensure that callers can still reach you even though you’re not in the office. And if you frequently get visitors to your office or have planned appointments to visit clients, be proactive by letting them know about your situation. Besides reaching out to those you were planning to see, a detailed message on your voicemail system can provide further information on when you plan to return to the office.
Leverage the Benefits of Technology
Conference call services, cloud computing and VoIP become more beneficial than ever when you’re running your business from home. A business that’s adept at using these technologies will be able to sail through inclement weather or other disruptive situations.
Prepare for Power Outages
Power outages that happen during or after snow and ice storms can bring even a well-prepared business to a screeching halt. But much can be accomplished via a virtual business phone system and a charged mobile phone. Calls can be made, voicemails can be responded to and faxes can be sent and received.
Some Other Quick Tips
– During a peak weather emergency situation, text messages often go through quicker than calls because they use fewer network resources.
– Besides having a charged wireless phone, it’s also a good idea to have one corded (landline) phone that is not dependent on electricity in case of an extended power outage. Keep in mind that cordless phones have receivers that require electricity to function, so they won’t work if the power goes out.
– Besides plugging employee, client and vendor contact numbers into your mobile phone, you’ll also want to have the numbers for family members, the police department, fire department and local hospital on hand.
– Have a backup plan for recharging your mobile phone’s battery, such as a solar or car charger and an extra set of charged phone batteries.
Originally published Dec 07, 2010, updated Aug 12, 2020