Ann Pickren, Chief Market Development Officer, OnSolve
When business continuity (BC) professionals hear that the Polar Vortex is collapsing, they aren’t simply worried about the inconvenience of cold temperatures — they are focused on the impact of severe weather to business operations and workforce safety.
Natural disasters and extreme weather resulted in approximately $160 billion worth of damage last year, and reinsurance company Munich RE forecasts this figure will be surpassed in 2019. Abnormal weather patterns — the type that can cause extended cold weather snaps as well as more frequent and intense winter storms — require that BC leaders properly plan for this new weather reality.
And it appears that organizations are acutely aware of the role workforce communications plays with winter weather. In the survey conducted by research firm DRG last year, 47% of decision-makers said severe and extreme weather events are their leading concern when it comes to emergency communications and response — outpacing other events such as active shooters (23%), cybersecurity attacks (13%), IT outages (10%), and workplace violence (6%).
With extreme and severe winter weather raising the stakes for business continuity, it also raises the probability of mistakes: requiring that employees commute into work in unsafe conditions or failing to communicate with your workforce in a timely fashion can elevate human and business risk. Organizations can’t change the weather, but they can mitigate its impact through proper preparation and communication before, during and after adverse winter weather hits. This starts with eliminating six common winter weather mistakes.