Workplace: Snow

Workplace: covers the issues and activities of managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives. Five of my books speak to daily business skills. Together, let’s explore what affects us every day (or some days) that we go to work.

Winter brings snow days for students and for many businesses’ employees. Last week, I was in the greater Seattle area during a rare, multi-day snow event. Employer handling of the snow event was impressive: “work from home if you can”; closing early so employees were off icy roads; not opening retail shops at all. Cancelled classes at the Y and other community organizations kept employees and members safe.

Even the Mayor of Seattle appeared on the news asking people to stay home so that road crews could get the snow cleared and return roads to safe travel conditions. And, people complied, they stayed off the roads. Employers provided virtual-work or stay-home alternatives. The snow put a wrinkle in the week, yet most people stayed good natured and upbeat. For some businesses, snow days are what makes them money – so snow is a good thing.

Snow days can be wonderful times of play with our children, of helping neighbors shovel, and of community concern and support. Handled well, snow days can be a workplace refresher moment that has people eager to get back to work.

Does your workplace have a snow plan in place for the days that traveling to work or returning home from work is too dangerous? A snow plan includes: identification of where can employees do their work; at what time we implement a snow plan decision; how we communicate to employees what we want them to do – where do we want them to be; a contact and communication plan for letting employees know what to do ( or not do); and when to return to work at the physical place of work.

Snow, sleet, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, any weather event that impacts a workday, all call for a workplace plan of action and communication that keeps employees and customers as safe as possible. Use these snow days as a reminder to build weather-plans that will serve you, your business, and your employees in weather events.

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