The leaves are changing color and there’s a certain crispness in the air. You’re finding yourself reaching for your coat every morning before you step outside. Holiday decorations are appearing in department stores overnight and soon the jazzy holiday music will be filtered through speakers everywhere you go. We all know what this means; winter is coming.

It’s not quite here yet. We still have to get through the final few short weeks of fall but we all know it’s going to start snowing more frequently. Now is the perfect time to start preparing. You might be asking yourself what you, as a small business, might need to do to prepare.

First and foremost, you should be concerned for the safety of your employees. During snow season there is always an increase of workers compensation slip and fall accidents, not only in icy parking lots or walkways but inside buildings where snow is tracked in then melts into puddles. Do you have a snow shovel to clear walkways? If you do, do you know where it is? What about ice melt? It might be a good idea to pick some up from the store or order it online. How are your doormats in your entryway? Now is a great time to order a larger one to absorb any water or mud that is tracked in.

Another safety concern should be your employee’s commute to work. When the forecast is calling for snow, it’s always wise to remind your staff that extra time might be needed for a safe commute. You may also want to consider a snow day policy, if your company doesn’t already have one. Perhaps there is an opportunity for some or all of your staff to work remotely on particularly bad snow days. You may want to get the technology side of that set up now rather than fumbling through it during a snow storm.

Now let’s think about the extremes. What if there is a terrible blizzard you need to close your office? Do you have everyone’s phone numbers handy to alert them? Or perhaps you could set up an emergency phone tree. You will need to be aware that Colorado state law requires you to still pay salaried employees if you choose to close your office for the day due to inclement weather. You cannot reduce their wages for the day of missed work. If you have a paid time off (PTO) policy, you may want to consider allowing hourly employees to use available PTO hours to cover the lost time.

The takeaway is preparedness. You’ll be thanking yourself later for taking measures to manage these things ahead of time. We’re sure your employees will appreciate it as well. We hope you all have a happy and safe winter!