Small Firms Worst Hit by Snowy Conditions
Small firms were hardest hit by the recent heavy snowfall, losing vital productivity at a time when they are already struggling to survive, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The FSB calculated that 20 per cent of the UK workforce took the day off last Monday (2nd February) due to the snow, costing UK businesses a whopping £1.2 billion in lost productivity.
"The mass staff absences hit small firms hardest,"
said FSB head of parliamentary affairs, Stephen Alambritis.
"While a larger company can divert their resources to branches where there are no adverse weather conditions, for a small business if you have six staff and three can’t make it in, that’s 50 per cent of the workforce gone.
"At these firms, cheques aren’t being banked, goods aren’t being sent out, and if the bad weather continues a big blip will show in the accounts – it’s the last thing they need at the moment," said Alambritis.
"Schools should not have decided to close for two days," he added. "They rightly closed on the Monday, but should have re-opened on the Tuesday in areas where conditions improved, allowing parents to return to work. The UK should have been better prepared for the disruption."
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) urged employers to maintain productivity by allowing staff to work from home during bad weather conditions.
"Businesses allow staff to work flexibly in normal times can reap the rewards of this situation,"
said CIPD organisation and resourcing adviser Rebecca Clake.
"Of course, many types of work simply cannot be done from home, and these employers should work hard to get those employees who make it in to operate the business as best they can," she said.
Clake added that employers should make clear to staff that they should not risk life or limb to get into work.
"Where employers are genuinely unable to get in, and this can be demonstrated to the employer, employers will have to decide whether to grant special leave, require employees to take annual leave, or whether to shut down," said Clake. "There is no right and wrong answer to these questions."
Read more about the law on flexible working and ensure your business is prepared for adverse weather conditions.