A strong handle on risk management can help to maintain stability:
1. Deter threats to the physical workspace
The biggest risks typically are frozen pipes and flooding during winter months.
- Cost Helper, a website that aggregates statistics related to repairs and maintenance, states that a burst pipe can cost in excess of $3,800 if it is located in a wall or the building's foundation, while subsequent water damage can run up to $70,000.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that the average small business flood claim is about $85,000.
2. Mind the building's exterior
Another major risk ─especially for smaller retailers ─ is the prospect of icy sidewalks and parking lots that cause slips and injuries to your employees or customers. If someone falls due to hazardous conditions on the sidewalks and parking lots around your business, you can be held liable for taking care of their medical bills.
The New York Times explained that some cities will penalize companies even if no one does fall. In New York City, the newspaper points out, the sanitation department handed out 10,000 tickets last winter to those who did not clear up sidewalks in front of their buildings, with fines ranging between $100 and $350. Make sure these pathways are clear and safe at all times.
3. Have a contingency plan for operations
Small businesses might already have a telecommuting policy in place to best serve the demands of the modern workforce, but wintertime needs to be a point of focus for this policy. Companies should also have a plan in case a major winter storm or other event makes travel to and from the physical workplace unsafe for employees. If you do not have a remote work or telecommuting policy in place and reside in one of the nation's northern regions, your company might miss several days of worker productivity. This is especially true for companies outside the retail sector.
Make sure that you have a reliable method to communicate with all staff members efficiently when a storm is in the forecast. Allowing workers to work from home can allow operations to continue on regardless of weather conditions at the office.
Be safe when dealing with winter weather. Selective and your independent insurance agent understand the risks your business faces no matter the season. Learn more about how you can Be Uniquely Insured by contacting your agent today.