January 7th, 2014 by Delainie Britton
We all woke up this morning hoping to avoid the outdoors, hoping for a day off on account of…the cold? If you are as unfortunate as I am to be without a garage, you had the luxury of scraping deep set ice off of your windshield for at least 20 minutes, while your car took another 30 to thaw, all while struggling to cover as much of your skin as possible to avoid frostbite, yes….frostbite. The box office movie sales even put Disney’s, Frozen, back at the top this past weekend – coincidence? I think not.
This week much of North America is suffering from tundra-like (unimaginable) temperatures and wind chills as cold as 70 below zero, referred to as the “Polar Vortex.” Now I am not a meteorologist by any means, nor am I well versed on the science behind global warming, but typically when one hears discussion of global warming, one doesn’t associate such talk with “tundra-like temperatures.” According to Business Insider, typically, these seasonal fast-moving winds are trapped in the Arctic region, but scientists suggest that recent warming temperatures in the Arctic may be responsible for the weakening or splitting of the vortex, which causes the winds to move out of the Arctic and right to the Midwest/Northeast area of the United States– yay for usL.
Now, how will this week of bitter temperatures impact your life and the economy? The answer is that it depends. Everyday life will of course be disrupted, as Americans are forced to work from home, skip errands, and juggle school/business closings thus reducing productivity in the workplace and I don’t even want to think about what my natural gas bill will be this month! The parcel delivery industry is of course suffering the wrath of angry online shoppers; sales are up due to the recovering economy and our general lack of desire to leave the warmth of our houses. A direct contrast to the increase in online sales is the hit local businesses will take as a result of said lack of desire. The threat of power outages, frozen water mains, and slowed transit also looms over such businesses, which could lead us into an entirely separate topic, proper insurance coverage – we won’t even go there. From an external auditor perspective, remote access to client information is critical if a client’s physical space and/or key business contacts are unavailable due to inclement weather.
So what do you do? Unfortunately there is no escaping the Polar Vortex, but you can prepare yourself for possible consequences. Organize yourself, your staff, and your business by implementing an inclement weather policy/plan and communicate such to relevant parties, keep work materials and/or client information saved to your hard drives, printing hard copies if need be, and most importantly, bundle up and stay warm – winter is here to stay (at least until Wednesday).