As I write this post, the snow flurries from the first snowfall of 2015 are becoming a fine mist of snow. School closing and delays were broadcast on the crawl below the television picture and meetings have morphed into conference calls.
While snow and winter are not mutually exclusive in the Mid-Atlantic region where I live, it always seems to take people by surprise. I’ve given up trying to understand how weather has become news and snowfall an event. It just is.
As an adult, you get to make decisions about road conditions and safety. If you don’t think it makes sense to go in to work, then don’t. That said, your employer is under no obligation to pay you if you don’t come in to work. It is not an automatic entitlement, even if schools are closed and children are home.
Therefore, – if weather is going to play a role in messing you up, it makes sense to have a ‘Plan B’ during the winter months:
– Investigate the possibility of creating ‘emergency telecommuting’ for situations that arise due to inclement weather. An emergency 5:00 AM call to employees alerts people to poor weather conditions (if they aren’t already checking conditions).
– Technology can play a bigger role in the winter months. Figure out SKYPE, meeting technology like GoToMeeting or WebEx, chat rooms, conference calls, and the cloud.
– Remote access protocols that allow some documents to be accesses through the Cloud (using DropBox, Evernote or GoogleDocs is pretty straightforward.
– Have a back-up date that can be used should the original date and time need to be canceled.
– Keep a charger in your car. It might end up turning into a parking-lot office if you can’t get to where you need to be.
– Keep games, crayons, movies, and snacks at work if you must bring children in because they can’t be left alone at home. Make it clear that the rules of the workplace apply to them; people are professionals at work and expect a certain level of quiet in order to get work accomplished. Remember that schools use a different criteria for closing than business do.
– Check with the people you interact with periodically throughout the day.
Remember that is some parts of the country, it’s not only snow that create the challenge. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wild fires, mud slides, subzero temperatures and extreme wind chill can make it dicey to get to work.
Keep in mind that weather disruptions are usually temporary (Apologies to those who have dealt with the impact of ‘Super Storm Sandy.”).
Until the next time.