With flood warnings in place across much of the North of England and Wales, and warnings of high winds across the South of England, the Federation of Small Businesses is urging small firms to be as prepared as possible. John Allan, FSB National Chairman, said: “Severe weather is currently hitting parts of the UK causing significant disruption for small businesses.
“In a recent FSB survey, it was found that two thirds of small businesses have been negatively affected by severe weather in the last three years. The financial cost of these severe weather events over this period was, on average, just under £7,000 for each affected business.
“We would urge small businesses at this time to clarify their risk of flooding, design a resilience plan and where available, sign up to the Flood Warnings Direct service.”
The impact of flooding can be felt both directly and indirectly by small firms. While flood damage to premises is the most obvious, it is not the most common. Around 15% of small businesses affected by flooding have experienced direct damage to their premises, but a 45% have seen a negative impact on staff and customers.
Small firms should explore the potential benefits of flexible working for staff unable to travel due to extreme weather, says the FSB. For example, they may wish to consider allowing their employees to work remotely, or hold meetings with clients online rather than in person where possible.
Logistics is another issue for small businesses during times of adverse weather, with 32% of small businesses affected having trouble with infrastructure and transport. Some measures to ease pressure on logistics in difficult times may include stockpiling, resilient storage locations and spreading delivery and supply risks through multiple suppliers.