Maintaining your company's traction in bad weather

By David Lewis, president and CEO, OperationsInc

Now that winter has arrived in earnest, we are reminded that the weather in Connecticut--particularly snow and ice--can have a big impact on the smooth running of our businesses.

Already in the last month alone, weather has prompted many businesses to consider closing early or opening late on several occasions. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to create a plan for dealing with the next storm and its impact on your employees.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Establish a simple way for employees to learn of a company closing or delayed opening. Email is a good option, but you might also consider setting up a dedicated phone number that employees can call to hear a voicemail regarding any weather-related schedule changes. Be sure you have your email or voicemail message up before employees start out on their commute.
  • Be considerate of how your employees are affected when schools and daycare facilities close, open late, or close early. In such situations, employees often have to scramble to arrange alternative care. Encourage your staff to find good alternatives, and emphasize the importance of punctuality despite occasional challenges. Of course, your flexibility always will be appreciated.
  • Communicate. It's important to stay aware of deteriorating weather and the impact it can have on employee attentiveness, productivity, and safety. Always let your employees know that you are aware of the weather conditions and that you will inform them in advance about any schedule changes.
  • Promptly address attempts to abuse the system and show your appreciation to those employees who show up even during the worst storms to ensure your company continues to operate.

Although there is nothing you can do to stop the snow from falling, it's critical that you prepare for weather-related disruptions and execute your plan consistently.

The Question of the Month is sponsored by Norwalk HR outsourcing and consulting firm OperationsInc.