With the festive season in full swing, we’ve put together some handy tips to improve security and help minimise the risks of any problems for your business this winter.
Start by preparing a plan – this doesn’t have to be complicated, but having a contingency plan in place will help you and your staff deal with any issues. Consider how you will deal with snow or severe weather – will it affect access to the premises? If you live some distance away, will you need another employee to open the shop for you?
Business continuity planning enables you to plan and anticipate likely scenarios, and increase the likelihood of your business being adversely affected by difficult situations.
It may not be looking like a white Christmas this year, but the British weather can be unpredictable! Make sure you have sufficient supplies of salt or grit for paths, and that you have a shovel too. If it’s icy then clear all access paths to prevent slips and falls. It’s worth ensuring you have a torch or rechargeable lantern on hand too, in case of power cuts.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and liaise with your suppliers to ensure that stock will be delivered on time – particularly for Christmas orders.
Cracks in the pipes can cause significant problems, and are a major winter risk. Check all exterior pipes are intact – if you spot any cracks, make sure these are dealt with straight away.
Keeping the heating on at a low level even when the shop is unoccupied will help prevent pipes freezing.
Before you shut up shop for the Christmas holidays don’t forget to check that all your outside lighting is working.
If your shop will be open but you’re taking a well-deserved break, make sure your staff have clear instructions on how to ensure the premises are secure, and how to set the alarm. Make sure alarms are tested in the run up to your time off.
Writing a security checklist is a good idea – and remember to leave spare keys, access codes and contact numbers just in case. If you have friendly neighbours who will be around over the Christmas period, it’s worth asking them to keep an eye out and leaving them your contact details, just in case.
It’s important to make sure you understand the terms of your insurance policy, so check the wording. There may be exclusions regarding the number of days your property can be empty, or considerations about security. If you are in any doubt, contact your insurer broker.
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