How Small Businesses Should Deal With Inclement Weather
We’re now nearing the end of winter, but depending on where your business is located snow still may be in the forecast. Some area’s winters are fairly mild and light, while others aren’t so lucky – severe snowstorms are enough to shut down more than schools, businesses too!
Larger companies typically have a policy in place for inclement weather, such as severe snowstorms, and will be able to (pun intended) weather the storm with no issues or complications. For small businesses, however, coming up with a policy for work expectations during inclement weather is not always easy.
Snowstorms and other types of inclement weather don’t have to bring your business’s production to a screeching halt. With the right tools, such as a workforce management software like Scheduling+, creating and establishing an inclement weather policy with your employees can be a smooth process. If you want to learn how to keep inclement weather from getting in the way of a productive workday, continue reading.
TIPS FOR DEALING WITH INCLEMENT WEATHER
As an employer, providing safe working conditions is the highest priority. Above all, it is an employer’s responsibility to not put their employees in harm’s way. This should be clearly stated in your inclement weather policy – you should explicitly specify that their number one goal is to help everyone do their jobs safely, not to create means of escape to get employees to come into work. To create a thorough inclement policy though, you’ll want to first consider some essential factors.
THINK ABOUT BOTH EXEMPT AND NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES
Unless your business is within the limits of a city-wide shutdown or emergency declaration, you may be wondering whether or not to close the office down. The biggest thing to consider here, in addition to the current weather and road conditions, is the ratio of exempt to non-exempt employees. Remember, non-exempt employees are paid hourly and are entitled to overtime pay for any hours that go over the 40 hour limit. Exempt employees are usually paid on salary and do not have to be paid for overtime. In the end, it is up to you how to handle snow days for both types of employees. For non-exempt employees that stay home and don’t work, you are not required to pay them for the day, unless you choose to do so. If exempt employees are able to work from home then they must be paid for a typical, full workday.
If employees decide to stay home and not work, and the office stays open or requesting a work-from-home-day, then you can require that employee to take PTO. If conditions are bad enough, you also can choose to implement a company-wide snow day where you will just have to take the losses in costs or productivity. But look at the bright side, at least you’ll benefit from boosted employee morale.
REFER TO / CREATE & SHARE YOUR INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
If you already have a policy in place for this, make sure to share it with employees when the forecast is calling for some nasty conditions. If you don’t yet have a policy set in place and you have already given thought into the breakdown of exempt and non-exempt employees, you’ll want to start thinking about what the will entail. Consider how many employers would be unable to come to work or work from home if road conditions aren’t driveable. If your business provides laptops to employees, you’re already a step ahead of the game. Even if your staff works entirely from the office, you can easily set them up to work remotely when needed. Plus, allowing employees to work flexible schedules offers some major benefits, which you can read about here.
Your company policy should include information on how employees will be notified about office closures due to inclement weather. You can send out an email to everyone well before the workday begins, but if working from home is a possibility and you are aware of incoming inclement weather conditions, it is important to ensure that all employees are prepared to work from home. Keep in mind, if employees will be working from home on their personal or company-provided laptops then you will need to set up a secure connection to the business storage drive so employees are able to access files while working from home.
ESTABLISH TASK MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
One of the biggest concerns you may have with closing down your office is productivity – or the lack thereof for that matter – when allowing employees to work from home. It certainly is easier to communicate and manage employee tasks in the office. However, with the right tools and technology, you can better manage your employees, automate regular tasks, and assign one-time tasks easily; which is exactly what Scheduling+ has to offer. Utilizing this powerful employee task management software will enable employees to see tasks the moment they are assigned and then will be able to check them off easily once completed. You can keep better tabs on your business and employees’ productivity for the day by looking at completed tasks, and you even have the ability to export the tasks to different applications. With an employee task scheduling software of this caliber, checking in on employees and their progress when working from home due to severe weather conditions is easier and will give you peace of mind that they are getting their work done.
TRY SCHEDULING+’S WORKFORCE TASK MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
Polar vortexes, El Niño, extreme temperatures over 100 degrees; whatever inclement weather comes your way, your business doesn’t have to suffer the consequences. You can make it easier for your employees to work from home when the weather outside is frightful by providing them with the tools and technology they need.
Additionally, having an inclement weather policy in place and constituting the difference between a paid day and a non-paid day among employees and whether or not they should be working is equally important. With these policies in place and Scheduling+’s task management solutions and employee scheduling app, the only thing you will need to worry about is how you are going to get your morning latte from your favorite cafe.