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When Weather Strikes, Keep Employees Informed and Safe

Photo of a computer screen with a weather report showing very cold temperatures
Category - Business
by Hillary Bowling on December 3rd, 2018

2018 has been dramatic in terms of weather for the United States.

Just after New Year’s, Winter Storm Grayson blanketed parts of Florida with more snow and ice than they have seen since the 1980s. Then in March four nor’easters  hit New England in just three weeks. April brought the deep south record rain falls and flooding.  Hurricane Michael ravaged the Florida panhandle in October. And now we are facing the deadliest California wild fires in history. And 2018 isn’t over yet.

While these are some of the most significant events we saw, there were many more. These examples show the importance of having an emergency communications plan for inclement weather. Weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. With the winter months upon us, ice and snow in some areas of the country can impact employees’ ability to get to work safely.

All areas of the country are subject to regional events that could potentially impact your employees. From wind storms to forest fires to hurricanes to earthquakes, businesses everywhere should have plans to deal with communications during inclement weather.

Why? The answer is simple. Some employees may not know if they’re required to report to work if outdoor conditions are dangerous. Some will report regardless of how bad the outdoor conditions might be, while others may assume a dusting of snow means a day off work.

So how can employers let employees know when they should—or shouldn’t—report to work? An emergency communications plan is key to making operations flow smoothly when the weather is less than favorable.

MAKE A PLAN

First, update your employee handbook. Make certain it contains a business continuity plan that specifically details what will happen to the business during weather-related emergencies.

Think about the weather-related conditions that could affect your area and how your business’s operations could be impacted. As you set the criteria for business closures, be certain you understand any liability risks you could face if you ask employees to report to work during bad weather.

Finally, make sure your policy clearly specifies who is to decide if the business will close, who will make the announcement and how. It should also set expectations for how employees should behave during a weather-related scenario. If employees can work remotely from home, make sure they understand that expectation. Leave nothing to ambiguity. Also, make sure employees know in advance if they will get paid for weather-related closures.

DETERMINE HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH EMPLOYEES

If employees are scattered across the country or even the globe, how will you let them know the office will be closed? Employees who trek to work through ice and snow only to discover the office is closed won’t be happy about the risk they took. Thanks to technology though, it’s easier than ever to let employees know whether they should venture out or stay at home. One Call Now’s automated calling system gives you the confidence of knowing that everyone is in the loop. With a click of a mouse or a tap of key, you send instant alerts and notifications by phone, text, or email to employees.

The takeaway for business owners and leaders? Weather events can happen anywhere but having a plan will keep your business on track and employees safe. Make sure your organization is ready with an effective inclement weather plan that includes an emergency notification system like One Call Now.

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