The US has been experiencing wild weather patterns this year, with heatwaves, droughts and hurricanes impacting counties across the nation. But the weather of the summer is soon to give way to new weather challenges brought by the winter. As a business owner or manager, what can you do to prepare your office for the winter in terms of safety and security?
Plan for Ice and Snow
The winter naturally brings inclement weather and resulting seasonal hazards, chiefly in the form of ice and snow. Ice and snow are more likely to be experienced in some states than others – and at varying degrees of severity – but should nonetheless be planned for carefully.
Your office complex would do well to stock up on salt grit for the parking lot and any entry roads, to ensure the safe passage of automobiles to the office. Covered parking, even in the form of temporary tents and gazebos, can keep parking spaces clear of snow.
Cold weather can quickly penetrate commercial buildings, impacting the comfort, productivity and even health of your staff. You should ensure your office is kept at a reasonably warm temperature at all times – and that every staff member is more or less comfortable where they are.
Some of your staff may frequently be working outside or on the move. Their needs should not be discounted either; a portable heater for outside work can improve comfort, while the provision of company-issued warm clothing can keep them safe from the cold while under your supervision.
Secure the Perimeter
Office security is not often thought of as a seasonal provision, but the challenges brought by the winter months can have a direct impact on the safety of your office from unlawful entry. A key example of this can be found in hedges and shrubs, which frequently form the bulk of boundary perimeters to commercial complexes.
In the winter, many hedges and trees shed their leaves and shrink – potentially leaving portions of your perimeter exposed and easier to trespass. A tour of the perimeter should reveal any weaknesses, with replacement fencing and barbed wire a useful alternative.
Review Your Security Measures
Your office’s wider security measures should also be reviewed at this time, due to the increased risk of vulnerabilities in the winter – both in terms of failing perimeter defense and longer nights. Alarm sirens are an effective burglary deterrent, as are movement-triggered security lights. CCTV can also assist in the monitoring of the site after-hours, and the identification of any would-be trespassers.
Offer Remote Working
Lastly, a novel method for ensuring your staff remain safe in the winter can be found in the offering of remoting working opportunities. Staff face a higher risk of traveling to the office than they do sitting in the office; according to the US Department of Transportation, nearly a quarter of all weather-related vehicle incidents happen during snowfall or sleet. Letting your employees work from home allows them to remain comfortable and safe, without accepting undue risk in order to work.