Q. We had a snow day – which was great! But then we were told it was really a work from home day, not a day off. What are we supposed to do? Shovel, plow, take care of the kids or actually do work? What does my boss really expect me to make happen on a snow day?
A. Oh how bad weather affects the economy; the number of working people who need to commute, have kids home from school or have to use a shovel are enormous. Businesses make the decision to close based on their concerns for the safety of their employees, city and state recommendations,the availability of public transportation, and travel bans.
Businesses also need to minimize their losses and will most likely ask employees, who will be paid for that snow day, to work. Employers encourage people to prepare for the day out of the office by suggesting they bring work home. Most employees say they don’t have enough time in any work day to complete their duties; this type of out of office day can provide the reprieve from interruptions and urgent issues. This time allows people to ”catch up” on emails, phone calls, messages, writing projects, reading projects or any other items they have had on the back burner.
What work projects can you take care of, and how much time can you dedicate to the responsibilities of your job during a snow day? It is understood that not all work will take place between 8:30 and 5 based on other responsibilities during the day, yet a paid day is fair trade for a day worked. Phone meetings, Skype, GoToMeetings can all have a very positive impact on moving work forward. Assuming responsibility for rearranging calendars as a team shows the kind of leadership and contributions managers look for.
Many employees love the opportunity to work from home. Employers have provided laptops, convenient web access to their desktops, and cell phones to support employees’ efforts to be efficient regardless of their location.
Managers recognize that employees who work from home on a regular basis have effective systems, dedicated office space and a comfort level with working self sufficiently to give a full day of work, if not more. Employees who are not used to the circumstances of working from home may not be as productive as they are at work.
The extenuating circumstances surrounding a storm will most likely have a significant impact on productivity. Making every effort to produce visible or tangible results from a snow day will allow managers to see that your intention is to deliver results, regardless of where your work happens.