Winter is coming | How could blackouts affect your firm and employees?

How could blackouts affect your firm and employees?

Blackouts have been a critical subject matter these days all across the UK. However, while most of the conversation has leaned towards the impact on our personal lives, there is also an important conversation to be had surrounding how businesses and working environments might be affected...

UK blackouts are on everybody’s minds and have in fact impacted many people’s agendas. Cabinet Minister, Nadhim Zahawi has stated on many occasions that blackouts in the UK are ‘extremely unlikely’ and we won’t see them this winter.

Mark H, the Head of Grid Innova, expressed with regards to the comments set forth by Zahawi: “I never thought this is where the UK would end up in my time in the industry with regular warnings of depleted margins between supply and demand of energy or possibly a 3-hour blackout which was said to be ‘unlikely’.”

Mark, continued: “However, unlikely, isn’t impossible.”

The statements made by Mark have a core focal point which is that UK blackouts aren’t out of the question and have the true possibility to occur.

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What should be expected?

Despite the fact that the Cabinet Minister and some of the government officials are stating an alternative scenario.

The Cabinet Minister has additionally highlighted the matter that the war in Ukraine has led to the national grid putting forth a statement of warning in case the matter becomes ‘align in a bad way’.

With the many different comments developed and made daily, it’s vital to prepare for the UK blackouts soon.

The question arises: how?

Similar to every occurrence in the world, there are various concerns and in the same way, solutions are voiced.

With distinct measures, it’s fundamental to find the right way for your business and indeed employees.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula says: “Regardless of the likelihood, there are steps the employers should take now and one instance is: although this warning is very much a worst-case scenario situation and the Prime Minister has said we are in a good position, preparation is key.”

She continues: “While essential businesses, including transport and NHS hospitals, would be exempt from power cuts, other businesses should start thinking about their emergency management protocol now.”

The concerns and solutions made by Palmer are very important, due to the fact that preparation is required for the future and ultimately to ensure wellbeing of employees and employers on whole.

In addition, coal-fired power stations are on standby in case extra generation is required. As a matter of fact, they are launching a scheme to help with financial means for both homes and businesses to decrease electricity utilisation at core times.

Electricity is a necessary means for many, but businesses and overall employers need to recognise the importance for their employees that have to make use of business, such as hybrid and remote workers.

Palmer states: “If you need to send employees home early because of power cuts, you will still be required to pay them. This is the case unless you have a specific clause on short time working within your contracts of employment, allowing for a reduction in pay should you be unable to provide work.”

Certainly, it’s crucial to understand and acknowledge the importance linked to electricity and how it impacts employee work too.

Safety is key

Another area with UK blackouts and how they will affect employees and businesses is visible with safety.

Safety is often overlooked by many in terms of safety and its significance.

Safety issues can be created by blackouts in the workplace as well.

Gavin Scarr Hall, Director of Health and Safety at Peninsula, says: “You often won’t get much notice of a power outage, so planning will help ensure that work doesn’t grind to a halt if the electricity supply is interrupted.”

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Hall, adds: “It’s easy to forget the health hazards associated with power outages. Talk to local authorities to check water is safe to drink – water purification systems may have malfunctioned, so keep a supply of bottled water on hand.”

So, safety measures should be always taken into account.

All above, employee and employer wellbeing, safety and assurance are essential.

Yes, blackouts might not occur, but we have to be prepared and ensure the right measures are put into place either way.

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