No one wants to close their business if they do not have to. The impact can often be very disruptive to any organization. However, when inclement weather hits, owners/managers often have to. Balancing the safety of your employees with the day-to-day operations of your company can be a challenge. Many businesses resort to allowing their employees to work from home, but how do you know if you should. Below are some easy guidelines to help assess.
Are public schools closed?
Companies know that their employees have children. Some have started to adopt an “if the school is closed” model. With holidays like spring break, parents have lots of time in advance to plan out child care. However, when mother nature hits, and schools close with little notice, parents often have to scramble to find a childcare or have to take time off. More and more often, companies are allowing their staff to work remotely when these situations arise. While working remotely may not be ideal, it does ensure that your employees remain productive. There is nothing worse than having a staff member use their vacation time or a sick day without advance notice. This creates a situation in which other employees in your office have to scramble to take on an extra workload.
Do your employees commute?
Everyone has a commute to work. Some individuals travel 15 minutes, some travel an hour and a half. Understanding how far away your employees work can help owners/managers decided if it is necessary for their staff to come into the office. In our Orlando employment firm’s case, a lot of our staff travel roughly 35 to 40 minutes to get to work. During Hurricane Matthew, Kavaliro looked at the forecast and saw that the weather was going to pick up around 1:30 PM, right in the middle of the work day. Our staffing agency decided to make coming into the office optional and set up the clear expectation that our employees, no matter where they worked from, were to work a full day. Knowing that our employees had to travel to and from work allowed us to make a more informed decision on what to do to ensure their safety.
Has a curfew been established?
During predictable inclement weather counties and towns often put a curfew in place to protect not only their citizens but also their first responders. It seems logical that if a curfew is in place, your employees are not required to go into the office. Some companies, however, must have employees on site. Power companies, telecommunication companies, and even some security personnel will need to be at work. In situations like this, flexibility has to be given. If your company requires that certain employees physically be at the office, communication is key. As a company, you must consider several things in selecting the best employee for your situation. Basic considerations include: Can the employee safely make it to and from work? Is the employee in a high impact zone where they may need to be on their personal property? Does an employee have a family they need to be with? Is there an evacuation notice where the employee lives? By answering these simple questions, a company can determine who is best to be at work. Make sure, no matter why you need an employee at work, that if there is a curfew in place your employee has a pass to be on the roads during that time.
Do your employees need accommodations?
In situations where major flooding or strong winds may occur, it is reasonable to allow employees time to prepare their personal lives and property. In the case of Kavaliro’s Jacksonville staffing location, during Hurricane Matthew, we recognized that several of our employees live near or on the beach. Those employees required the accommodation in order to stock up on provisions, secure their homes, and even evacuate (if needed). Yes, they may be boarding up windows while answering emails, but this is a better than the alternative. Safety is a priority!
Mother Nature does what she wants when she wants. It is always best to air on the side of caution when it comes to inclement weather events. It is never an easy decision to close a business but, putting the safety of employees and their families first is always the best practice. While your company may not be as productive as normal, your staff will be safe.