We blame the metric system...
Ever since British television unilaterally started measuring snowfall in centimetres rather than inches – “ten” instead of “four” – Britons have used the higher-sounding figure as an excuse to go hysterical over a little wintery weather.
The United Kingdom has been all but closed for business in the crucial last week before Christmas. There is no excuse – especially since this is the fourth time a relatively small amount of snow has caused major disruption in Britain in as many years.
Of course, there is little that can be done to help retail businesses suffering from the physical absence of customers, but there are practical steps other businesses can take to minimise all forms of disruption.
1. Accept this is going to happen: a number of recent events have demonstrated how, as modern business life becomes more complex, it becomes more vulnerable to a range of potential disruptions.
2. Draft a formal emergency plan, and brief employees and, if possible, suppliers and customers, so everyone knows what to expect – and what is expected of them.
3. Train employees who live relatively near the place of business to act in key roles in case those who normally occupy those roles cannot get to work.
4. Maximise the number of employees with access to work facilities.
5. Keep contact details of employees, customers, and suppliers at home. This might violate data protection rules. We wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to break the law but in our experience businesses that take the practical and pragmatic approach tend to fare better than those who show blind adherence to rules that don’t serve them well.
6. Use the internet – e-mail and websites – to keep everyone informed about what is happening.