In the greater Columbus area, winter can pose a significant problem not just to comfort, but to business efficiency as well. A properly winterized commercial property ensures the comfort of your visitors and employees, and it’s a safer environment, too.
Follow these five tips to prepare your business for winter.
- Ensure that your property has been “winterized” : Shut off all exterior hose bibs, ensure that all doors have weatherstripping in place and locking and closing mechanisms are working properly, check and repair window seals, exterior caulking and/or insulation, roofing, etc., make sure gutters have been cleaned and sealed, service HVAC equipment, adjust temperature controls in occupied and vacant areas, make sure leaves are cleared from the property exterior, and provide your snow removal contractor with a clear scope, schedule, and directions to ensure that everyone’s expectations are met. Make sure you have inspected and repaired anything that can be addressed prior to the start of the inclement weather, both to keep your tenants happy and keep your property operating smoothly and efficiently.
- Prevent slips and falls: Make sure guests and employees don’t fall on icy walkways. Communicate with your landlord or whoever is responsible for the snow and ice removal at your business location to ensure that everyone is aware of your business hours and can plan accordingly for adequate services when the inclement weather hits. Wear sensible shoes during your commute and be cautious when carrying anything in icy or slippery conditions.
- Protect interior flooring surfaces: Using quality scraper-type matting outside, and absorbent matting inside your doorways, will help prevent moisture and ice melt products from damaging your carpets and other interior flooring surfaces, and ensure that any hard surface flooring does not become slippery. A good guide to use for entry matting in inclement weather is to provide about 10 feet of matting surface, whether it starts outside or inside, to remove salts and moisture from shoe surfaces.
- Guard your technology and data: Blowing wind and accumulating ice can result in power outages. Back up company and client data daily, onsite and through hosted cloud servers whenever possible. Always check to ensure your back-up system is working properly before a storm hits. If weather is expected after hours, power down your equipment before leaving the office if possible. If generator power is not available to your business, investing in a UPS system can provide enough time to safely power down equipment after a utility outage, to ensure data is not lost or damaged from the sudden power loss, as well as condition the power supplied to your electronic equipment in the event of intermittent power losses or “brown outs”.
- Invest in emergency kits: Your office kit should include flashlights, thermal blankets, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food, a weather radio, and spare batteries. If you have a vehicle you use for business, include a kit in the trunk, too. Consider adding a bag of kitty litter, sand, etc. to your vehicle kit to provide a traction aid in slippery driving conditions in case you get stuck. You can find great recommendations on building emergency kits on the American Red Cross website.