This year we have been hit by snow on a few occasions causing disruption throughout the UK, seeing villages without power and major road networks grinding to a halt. Businesses have had employees stuck at home, whether snowed in or looking after children because the schools closed and there’s more snow to come. So what are businesses doing to ensure they can keep operational during these inconvenient weather spells?
Speaking to a head of projects last week, he told me that he has worked hard with his business (a major blue chip) to ensure all project staff can be mobile. He said that although there is a fundamental requirement to be on site for effective PM – senior management keen to keep everyone together (and where they can see them I am sure), he had convinced the SMT that the project team can also benefit from working remotely. He stressed that being in a very rigid environment where reporting, rigorous analysis and updating of the project library for the PMO was mandatory that quiet time can be very beneficial for individuals to get on with often technical and tricky pieces of work with less interruption. This was his business case a few years back and now as unavoidable circumstances leave staff stranded at home – they can still get on with their work and reduce impact to the business. Another part of his business case was to introduce a trust ethos and make a happier employee.
Forcing employees onto the road in treacherous conditions, having them arrive hours late because of traffic and leaving early in the hope of getting home without any incidents is a waste of valuable time and effort plus it says a lot about how the employer views you and your safety over the business. Most project teams, especially the delivery staff tend to be mobile and can work remotely these days due to project on/off site requirements, however a great deal of the support staff and PMs in other industries are still expected to be in the office 5 days a week. An issue seen by employers is that they would need to supply staff with equipment and internet access to make the move – however if you approach staff and say the opportunity is there for you if you have a PC and internet access (let’s face, who doesn’t these days really?) and most employees have work mobiles or commonly use their personal mobiles for work.
Snow days do not necessarily mean no work days – sorry to put a dampener on it, but in times of austerity needs must. Keep calm and carry on!