Top Tips on Preparing Your Office for Winter

With the clocks going back recently – and the fact that it is usually dark before the working day is over – has highlighted the fact that winter is almost upon us. This can bring particular challenges for employers.

The Gattinetts Business Centre provide storage facilities, and industrial and office units close to the Suffolk/Essex border. Here we look at some of the steps that workplaces can take to avoid some of the worst winter problems.


Get The Rota and Holidays Sorted Early

It’s important to do this as early as possible, particularly where Christmas is concerned. Many people, particularly those with young families, would like to spend the festive period with their families, but this may not be fair on the rest of your workforce. Try to be as fair as possible and make sure all holiday requests are submitted and approved well in advance.

Employees should be encouraged to ‘space out’ their holidays across the year to avoid too many potential bottlenecks. It’s also worth checking with your major customers and suppliers what their own arrangements are going to be, particularly over Christmas; this may be a factor when it comes to deciding your own staffing levels.

It’s usually a good idea to make sure there is someone in the office every working day of the year, so that you can deal with any unexpected queries or problems.  If there isn’t, make sure there is a divert on the phone (or a message for who to contact) in case of emergencies.


Keep the Workplace Safe

In these days of extreme temperatures, you don’t want people catching a cold while at work – it will only reduce their efficiency or force them to take days off sick. So, keep the heating on at a reasonable level (although it can be difficult to get agreement on what ‘reasonable’ actually means).

The Health and Safety Executive says that the minimum office temperature should be 16C (or 13C if employees are involved in regular physical activity.) Various studies have shown that anything between 19-23C is about right, depending on the outside air temperature.

Make sure that there’s plenty of emergency supplies – including food as well as hot drinks – if bad weather means that people can’t leave at the scheduled time. The area around the office should also be cleared of any snow and ice; this will prevent slips and falls, and also help to keep your workplace clean (which is important if you have any potential clients visiting).


Think About Security

The darker nights and the fact that staffing levels may be lower (or the office may not be occupied at all) means that many workplaces become a tempting target for thieves or vandals. Police believe that commercial crime historically rises by up to 20% over the winter months.

So, as well as taking basic precautions of locking all doors and windows, consider putting more expensive items, such as computers, out of sight or into storage. This particularly applies on or near Christmas Eve, when there probably won’t be anyone in the office for a day or two.

At The Gattinetts Business Centre we already have extensive security measures in place, with plenty of outside lighting and the entry gate only being accessible via key fob/intercom outside regular working hours. Also, rural office space in Essex and Suffolk should be less of a target for criminals than workplaces in more built-up areas.


Have Home Tech Too

There is no reason people should struggle in to work in bad weather, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Workers will probably be less productive if they’ve had a nightmare journey into work – and they may need to leave early too if the weather is still bad.

To avoid any problems, make sure people can work from home if needed. The days of home offices and video-conferencing software such as Zoom mean this is more feasible than ever before.


Industrial and Office Units in Suffolk at The Gattinetts Business Centre

As well as our offices, we also have industrial units and storage facilities at our site in East Bergholt. However, all three of these types of units are extremely popular, and they are often fully let. So, if you are interested in any of them, we may have to put you on a waiting list.

You can find out about any vacant sites here or by contacting us on either 07941 781489 or 01206 299555 (the site answerphone).