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Office Etiquette on Snow Days

Published: 27 February 2019

Author: Julie Robinson

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As we repeat to ourselves (almost compulsively) that winter is ending, it can be hard to know how to handle days when it feels impossible, unproductive, or dangerous to make it into the office. Luckily for you, we have put together some tips on how to handle particularly challenging weather days so that you don’t tick off your colleagues or lose your productive hours trapped in traffic.

Scenario 1: Going into Work

If you have used your judgement and decided that it would be best to go into work be sure you prepare yourself and others accordingly. Since driving in risky conditions can require extra energy and attention, alleviate yourself from the burden of checking emails in between lights. Instead, turn off your notifications and set an out of office that lets your colleagues and clients know that you are predisposed until further notice but that their messages will be answered later in the day. No matter what the work ‘emergency’ is, it’s important to prioritise your safety first.

Scenario 2: Work From Home

Since most of our work as recruiters is done by way of a computer, it can be a logical way to resolve the troubles of a brutal commute. If you have access to Skype or other webinar software you can complete interviews, meetings and client calls virtually from the comforts of your home. That being said, it is important to notify all parties involved especially those who are expecting you in-person. Give all candidates and clients the heads up as soon as you know that you will be working from home and let them know how/if it will affect that format of your discussion.

Other things to Consider:

Storm Size

Before putting extra logs on the fireplace and brewing an extra pot of tea, be sure that you aren’t copping out. The size of the storm could leave room for scrutiny from your colleagues if they are able to commute into work and you are waving the white flag as a default. Be sure that you have considered the implications of staying home if the storm is less of a storm and more of a snowy nuisance. While it can be tempting to take advantage of a snow day, consider that you will eventually have to return to work and face your team.

Schools Closure

If schools are closed it will be important to factor this into your plans. If you are a single parent it might mean a snow day by default, and most companies will understand. If you or your partner works remotely and/or has a more flexible schedule, it might mean planning and preparing together activities and /or snacks in advance so that work isn’t disrupted. Getting up an hour earlier to do this can mean a more productive day with less frustrations during it..

Your Boss

Even if your company policy is more lenient and even if you are entitled to a paid snow day in Britain, you don’t want to leave your boss in an overwhelmed state. It is best to communicate with them directly on your situation and agree upon what is and what is not feasible due to the inclement weather. This can avoid resentments later and foster a more comfortable return to work when the storm blows over.

In conclusion:

All in all, it goes without saying to act considerately when there is a storm/snow warning not only for your team but your family, and for yourself! Some of the A type personalities (read: majority of us in recruitment) may try to push through and make it to work at any cost but you should consider all angles before doing so. You may gain a few extra hours of productivity by learning to hang back and work from home for one day not to mention preserving your personal safety.

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