Staff beat £230 million a day cost of big freeze

It’s already being called the hardest winter for 25 years, but how are small businesses coping with the snow and ice challenge?

By News Desk
7th January 2010 at 9:10

Small business snow impactKids are off school, people can’t get into work and the big freeze is a source of misery or joy, depending on whether you’re throwing snowballs or stuck on the A3. But employee absenteeism during the bad weather could cost business £230 million a day.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) which came up with the £230 million figure to illustrate the impact of bad weather on small businesses, used GDP data, AA breakdown statistics and the estimated cost to retailers in lost sales for its calculations.

Tom Parry of the business group said:

Employees make businesses grow and losing key staff because of the weather, even for just a day, is very damaging, particularly in the current economic climate.

Nevertheless, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) suggests today that many small businesses are coping well with the snow, having established contingency plans.

In a survey by the organisation and Sky, 61% of small businesses said only one in 10 staff were absent from work over the last few days. Two thirds had made arrangements for employees to work from home.

Adam Marshall of the BCC said:

Even though three-quarters of businesses say their activities are being disrupted, they are also reporting relatively few absences, and high numbers of staff working from home. Taken together, business flexibility and employee diligence will limit the economic impact of the latest cold snap

Meanwhile Business Link is pointing small firms to free advice on how to handle crises, including bad weather disruption.

[Picture credit: TinyFizzyPop licenced from Flickr]

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