“For employers reluctant to apply work-from-home policies or who find themselves ideologically opposed to the practice, snow days are a perfect opportunity for a test run,” says Craig Malloy.
It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed as a snow-drift of statistics show, overwhelmingly, that employees favour flexible work.
- 84 per cent of Canadians agree that “flexibility in working from anywhere is one of the most important things a 21st century business or organization can offer its employees." (Ipsos-Reid)
- 43 per cent of Canadian workers admitted they’d happily swap jobs if an employer offered flexible working options. (Ekos Research)
- 36 per cent of employees would prefer having the ability to work from home over being given a pay rise.
Malloy suggests treating the next snow day as a trial-run for a more formal telecommuting policy – providing your employees know they’re expected to check-in.
“Clearly explain your expectations,” he says. “Set guidelines so your team knows what you expect when they're working out of the office. Lay the groundwork that this situation requires trust, then be specific about productivity, checking in, attending meetings, submitting their work, and more.”
If the day went well, it might be time to consider implementing an official policy but even if it didn’t, Malloy says managers should “use it as an opportunity to ask your team what they think; together you can find an approach that works across the board.”
Of course not all employers can grant employees permanent work-from-home privileges – but that still doesn’t mean a snow-day is a lost day.
“A snow day can be a chance to recharge your batteries and connect with family, which has a slew of work benefits in and of itself,” says Malloy.
It’s the coldest winter on record for many regions in Canada and the sub-zero temperatures aren’t going to improve any time soon but one CEO says there is a way for employers to make the most out of these insufferable snow days.