Although we’ve been enjoying sunny, warm weather over the last few weeks, Autumn is approaching and soon after, Winter. Preparing your business and your employees for possible adverse weather conditions is a task that should be completed well in advance. Failure to prepare could cost you.
#1 Adverse weather policy
The business should ensure that every employee is aware of the adverse weather policies. If not, then these should be explained and employees confirm that they understand the procedures included. Particularly important is what is deemed ‘adverse weather’, employees should be very clear on this and when the particular policy will be in effect. When the company will allow employees to leave the office should also be covered to avoid confusion should the weather close in during the working day.
#2 Working from home
If an employee does need to work from home, they should be able to do so effectively and productively. A contact method and connection to the company network should be arranged prior to the winter weather. Should training be required regarding remote connections etc, then this should be conducted prior to the winter season.
#3 Return to work procedure
Conducting return to work interviews can be used for sickness absence, but also to discuss the problems caused by the weather and seek any other possible solutions for the next bout of snow and ice. This may be alternative transport or equipment that the employee may require to work from home effectively.
#4 Office environment
Ensuring that the office itself is prepared for winter is essential for employee morale and productivity. An office without heating in the depths of Winter is not only a surefire way of lowering morale, but also a recipe for increased sick leave. Clearing ice from entrances/exits will also reduce the chance of employees slipping and potentially injuring themselves.
#5 Employee training
Training employees to deal with any task or duty essential to the business during adverse weather is a top priority. Making sure that there is backup personnel for each business critical area is important. This may require additional training, however, if the need arises you will be relieved that these processes and procedures are covered and not left incomplete.
#6 Employee recognition
As well as a procedure for those employees who are unable to make it to the office during adverse weather conditions, a process for recognising those employees that do make it through the difficult conditions and into work should be implemented. Make sure that you are aware of the employees who make it to the office and reward them appropriately. This does not necessarily mean a monetary reward and could be a mention and ‘thanks’ on the company intranet. Knowing that their efforts did not go unnoticed will raise morale and encourage those employees to make the effort next time.