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The HR Forum

Snow - what does your organisation do?

It's getting to that time of year again, when snow/ice causes chaos on our roads and confusion in the workplace!

I'm attempting to bring together a sensible process that makes it clear on what to do when there is snow on the road, the forecast is not looking good and a decision has to be made.

My organisation has a main HQ, a satellite office and several outposts, spread across the County. As such, it's not a simple matter to say if staff should be attempting to get to work or not, because conditions can be markedly different at each site. To give it some context, I will add that my organisation is not in manufacturing or the like, so the pressures of meeting strict targets is not really applicable.

I'm all for the local managers to be able to make the call for their particular site - assessing how dangerous access may be, what the roads are like and being the manager they will have a good grasp of any existing work priorities. In addition, as we are able to log onto our intranet from any of the offices, I would expect staff to be able to head for their nearest accessible site if conditions are expected to be bad.

It has been suggested that we simply follow the decisions made by local schools - if they are closed, then so are we.

The advice to only travel if you need to is not really clear - some could argue that means yes you can drive to work because 'you need to'. Others will argue that they shouldn't drive to work because they hear it as only drive if its essential..

Would appreciate any feedback on what triggers you use to help in deciding if staff should come in or not?

Tks

Steve

 

 

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Replies

  • Steve,

    You may find it useful to look at Acas Winter Guidance

    Debbie

  • Hi Steve

    We had a nightmare with this a couple of years ago and it caused no end of drama! Our factory opened on the snow days as staff lived locally had made it and so had the MD (with shovel in his boot!) who is a good hours drive from work. For those that made it in, he closed the factory down early so nobody was travelling in the dark and they were paid for the full day. However for those that couldn't make in argued it wasn't their fault they couldn't make it in and should be paid. Our MD's argument was that he made it and had further to travel. So we allowed staff to make the time up so they didn't lose any pay and that seemed to work well as a compromise. If the whole business had been shut then we would pay them. We now have a policy in place that explains this.

    Hope this helps

    Rachel

    • Tks Rachel,

      Good to hear that the MD was happy to close early rather than have staff travelling home in the dark. 

      It's always going to cause problems as there is no hard and fast rule that can be applied. I'm working on a bit of a policy for it now. Just hope I can get it approved before winter gets a grip..

      Steve

  • Quick question Steve - can your employees work remotely?

    • They can, though it depends on their role. The  Wardens for example are very much a practical, out in the woods, cutting down trees types so they would not be productive from home. That said, there is every likelihood that they wouldn't be able to get access to the Reserves anyway..  I'd say that the majority would be able to be at least partly effective by working remotely.

      The fact that the CEO has spent most of his working life in Sweden so is not phased at all by heavy snow doesn't help.  I'm aiming to go to him to advise him that  whilst he may be completely at home in those conditions, most of the staff are not at all comfortable in them. I will need to demonstrate that there is a clear process or a specific trigger that we can use to form a sensible approach to it where staff know what the situation is.  

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