Snow excuse?

18th January, 2010

So the news has made a real meal of the fact that everyone has lost out on trade over the recent snow days. Are the media scare mongering again, or do we have a real problem?

As a country we are generally unprepared for the onslaught of snow with perhaps the exception of Scotland, but even they have been hard hit in recent days. OK, so we don't have that much snow in a year so investing in snow ploughs and the like does seem like overkill, but I do feel that smaller companies should put together a "snow plan" for such eventualities. If we know that there is going to be snow, give workers the opportunity of working from home if they really can't get in to work. That way you don't lose productivity. Forward thinking by diverting your telephone to a mobile number the night before expected snowfall so that the telephone can still be answered just in case you are worried about the loss of business. The same would apply to emails. Most companies have the capability of accessing their computers from home so why not utilise this?

Yes, some people do take the proverbial and see it as a "free" day off, but spare a thought for those with a real phobia about driving and/or walking in slippery conditions. I count myself amongst these unfortunates. Luckily Nexus is very understanding of this fact but I know of others who are made to feel really uncomfortable by the way that their employers reacted to the fact that they were unable to get in to work. Surely it is better to be safe than sorry and maybe offer these people the choice of taking holiday or making up the lost time when the weather clears.

In light of the fact that there is likely to be more snowfall before the winter is out, I think some strategies should be put in place with clear guidelines to employees over what they should and should not expect if they take time off. Make it clear that they will lose holiday or have to make the time up and then you will sort of the shirkers from the geniune as I am sure that no-one wants to fritter away their precious free time or holiday entitlement for no reason. If you make these plans in advance then everyone knows where they stand and we can all breathe easier knowing that if/when the snow falls again we are at least prepared.

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