Severe weather events, like the recent “Bomb Cyclone” along the Eastern seaboard, can negatively impact organizations disrupting productivity and derailing employees’ ability to get to their jobs. However, employers who utilize effective workflex practices can help alleviate many of the problems and stresses caused by weather emergencies.
For example, some of the recent When Work Works (WWW) Award winners with worksites located along the East Coast experienced minimal disruption of business continuity. These organizations had already implemented effectual workplace policies and reported little impact on work productivity while keeping employees safe.
BlumShapiro, based in New England, saw very little impact from this weather event, because it had invested in technologies allowing most employees to work remotely.
“Years ago our firm instituted workflex polices with the technology to support them,” said Sara A. Bell, CHRO, BlumShapiro, West Hartford, CT. “In some cases, firm members have jobs that are unable to be done remotely, so they can use a weather-related time code in place of using PTO.”
EisnerAmper LLP employees in affected offices were instructed to take computers and necessary work home in case they could not travel safely.
“Although our offices stayed open, we told people to use their judgment and not come in if weather posed dangerous travel conditions,” said Nancy Greenfader, Director, EisnerAmper, New York, NY. “If an employee is unable to work remotely due to their job responsibilities, they can charge an “inclement weather” code, so their paid time-off is not affected. We expect employees to communicate with their team and complete work whether in the office or at home.”
Greene Resources in Raleigh, NC, implements workflex practices allowing employees to address unexpected life events no matter the situation. Workplace flexibility is part of the firm’s culture every day.
“We want our employees to feel safe above all, so it is important that they are fully informed about how to plan for weather situations,” said Mikio Anderson, SPHR, SHRM-CP, CPC, CTS, Vice President of Human Resources, Greene Resources, Raleigh, NC. “Our company culture prioritizes understanding, empathy, and effective communication to ensure our employees have the support and flexibility they need in times of crisis, while also ensuring business goals and objectives are met.”
Greene Resources’ employees across North Carolina experienced hazardous travel conditions. However, the firm did not have to adjust policies because of a thorough inclement weather plan already in place. Hallam-ICS also did not experience disruption at their Raleigh worksite due to workflex practices.
“Our North Carolina leadership is proactive and encourages employees to work from home, take time off or flex their hours when the weather is expected to be bad,” said Linda Kronoff, HR Generalist/Recruiter, Hallam-ICS, South Burlington, VT.
With more extreme weather events likely, organizations that embrace workflex practices can proactively address employee needs, minimize disruption, and promote productivity. To learn more and see additional When Work Works Award winning best practices visit www.whenworkworks.org. The WWW initiative is a project of SHRM grounded in results and based on data from NSCW and the National Study of Employers.
WRITTEN BY Beth Day
Beth Day is a Washington, DC-area freelance writer and When Work Works contributor. A former US Senate press secretary, Ms. Day was a member of Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s staff for over 12 years. She’s had feature articles published in Sosland’s Baking & Snack magazine and SNAC International’s Snack World magazine.