Chaos after the storm for UK SMEs

posted by 4 years ago in Features

We’ve all heard of the calm before the storm but what about the chaos after it? After storm Doris hit the UK last week, research has revealed that many of Britain’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses are poorly prepared for the effects of bad weather.

The research highlighted that a staggering 14.7 hours are lost on average by SMEs per year due to the effects of bad weather. Employees failing to make it into work, disruption to their supply chain and reduced demands for goods and services were all factors that contributed to a loss of productivity. The picture looks even bleaker for those in engineering and building, manufacturing and utilities, and transport. They reported losing around half a week every year because of bad weather conditions.

66 per cent of SMEs reported lost revenue due to bad weather in the nation-wide survey and almost a third said they’d suffered weather-related damage to property over the last five years. Despite those figures raising alarm bells nearly half revealed they have no plan in place to ensure they can continue trading and over two thirds admitted having no insurance cover to protect them.

Yorkshire and Scotland were the worst hit for bad weather and lost revenue whilst Wales and the South West were highlighted as two of the most resilient regions. The North East emerged as the most uninsured region with 82 per cent of SMEs saying they have no cover for the effects of bad weather.

Communications firm 8×8 carried out additional research into how employees feel when they are coaxed into coming into work in bad weather rather than working remotely. The results make for a dismal day with:

  • 55 per cent – annoyed being late to work

  • 45 per cent – irritable

  • 24 per cent – exhausted

  • 24 per cent – less productive at work

  • 13 per cent – resent management

By contrast, they found that 52 per cent were more productive when working remotely and 51 per cent were less stressed.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy there are nearly 5.5 million SMEs in the UK, employing 15.7 million people and turning over £1.8 trillion. 69 per cent of SMEs lack any insurance cover for bad weather which means that nearly 3.8 million businesses are exposed to the elements.