SES Business Water's MD, Giuseppe Di Vita suggests some ways to prepare for winter...

When preparing your business for winter, there are a number of building-related issues which might arise and it pays to be well prepared for these.

However, problems such as burst pipes and snow on the office roof are only one half of the story. As we head into the colder months, many businesses will overlook the potential impact on their business of staff absence, which can often be higher during the winter due to adverse weather conditions and illness. If your staff can’t come into the office, then they often can’t do their job; this means that during the winter, your operations can be seriously affected. With the right technology, however, your employees don’t have to be in the office to be productive. By giving your staff the tools to keep on working even when they have to remain at home, you can ensure that your business doesn’t suffer over the winter months.

Here are just a few ways you can use tech to stay open for business this winter...

Mobile devices

Providing workers with more mobile computing devices is a good first step. In today’s digital society, you don’t need to be at a desktop computer to get online. Mobile broadband, along with web and mobile apps, mean that your employees can stay connected on laptops, netbooks, tablets and mobiles.

Secure networking

Setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is advisable.  A VPN allows workers to connect to your office-based network wherever they are, so they can access all the local network resources that they would typically only be able to access while on site. Creating a VPN also prevents workers from sending information over a publicly accessible network such as the Internet, instead transferring data over a secure connection – so you can rest assured that any sensitive information sent via VPN is safe from hackers.

It’s important to note that a VPN won’t be the right solution for every business; smaller businesses in particular may find setting up a VPN to be cost-prohibitive. There are plenty of less costly options for sharing documents online; with cloud services such as Dropbox having ideal solutions for all types of business.

Meet up from remote locations

Investment in video conferencing technology could also be highly beneficial when managing employees that are working from home. Rather than missing important meetings, those who are unable to get into the office can simply dial into the meeting online. Having a video feature means that those outside of the office don’t miss a thing. If video conferencing seems like overkill, a simple conference line which you can all dial into, or an online service like Skype might be just the job.

While setting up and supporting mobile working technology may require some initial investment, there are options available to suit all budgets. Being prepared for winter will provide the valuable peace of mind that when the weather stops your staff from getting to the office, it won't stop them from being productive at home.

For other ways to ensure your business is watertight this winter click here.