HR and Snow Days

Look I get it – I have 3 sons – Snow Days are a big deal…if you’re 10!   So, if you’re an HR Pro, right about this time tomorrow, you’re going to feel like you have an entire organization full of 10 year olds – as we begin to see the first signs of Snowmagedon Part II.   I understand people freaking out, that is, if you live in some place south of the Mason-Dixon line, and you’ve never seen snow before – but I live in Michigan – it snows here – starts around Halloween and ends around Easter.  What I don’t understand is anyone that lives north of, let’s say, Chicago, even blinking an eye at a snow storm coming.  Let it snow, clear your driveway and get your butt to work.

It’s not a difficult concept – no I don’t want you to drive to a client if the roads are dangerous, and no I don’t want you to drive to work if the roads are dangerous, and no I don’t want you to run around the office with scissors and your shoes untied!  But I do expect, we’ll all be adults – looks like there’s going to be a lot of snow tomorrow -ok, how about packing some work to do from home – or just plan on watching Lifetime all day, because I completely understand you missing the 3 days of warning that the snow was coming!

Snow Days are the kind of crap that drives HR and Leadership completely insane!  Why is it, the CEO finds his way into the office, driving his Lexus sedan, but Perry in IT just can’t seem to get his 4X4Chevy Tahoe out of the garage?   If you want a day off that damn bad, take a day off – but don’t insult the intelligence of all those who found a way to come in.   Be sensible, give your local snow plows some time to clear roads, give yourself extra time to get to work – but at the very least give it a shot – then when you get stuck, take a picture with your phone and send it to your boss – they’ll appreciate the effort!

11 thoughts on “HR and Snow Days

  1. If staff can’t be trusted to make reasonable-enough judgements about weather, their personal safety and planning work one day ahead of time why are they trusted to take care of the customers? Yikes!

  2. Classic. Here in Florida our hurricane days are talked about and dealt with much the same. Do we shut down schools? Should we work at home? How much wind needs to blow before I make the decision not to come in to the office? While we won’t have snow tomorrow, you have to wonder if the low temps (forecasting high 20s lows 30s here in the 813) will keep workers from making the trek to the office.

  3. Hmmm…all very interesting from someone livng in Northern MI…I used to have a 20 minute drive to work (out in the pickers and not on a major hwy) and there were only a few times that I didn’t make it to work. I thought I was going to die once, and once I did get stuck..but I at least made the attempt. Turning around was always an option. As far as the kiddos go…make a plan ahead of time for a sitter…BEFORE the snow hits. Semper Paratus.

  4. Funny you said that, Tim. Since I work from home and work when & how makes sense for me & clients – I’ll have at least 2 extra kiddos coming home early with me & mine from school today. As their parents could not take time off.

  5. You’re right – we do live in Michigan and we SHOULD all know how to drive in the snow, but it’s also a good point that sometimes the roads aren’t clear by the time you have to leave for work, or, it’s friggin snowmageddon 2011 and everyone and their brother are getting into accidents. I know I can drive in 3-4 inches of snow on the road…but I don’t have that faith in my fellow drivers!

    Planning for a snow day is very important. There is always something, in this day and age, that a worker can do from home. That coupled with dedication to your job and a desire to get work done should either enable you to come in when the roads are clear, or, do your job from home for that day. This is true whether you’re in corporate HR, a recruiter at a staffing company, or an administrative assistant at a big corporation (I’ve been all 3). Kids having a snow day does make it hard for parents…but I don’t think people with kids should get extra breaks during snow days…it should be just like any other worker – work from home, come in when you can, or take PTO.

  6. I have driven a Hyundai Accent for 9 of the last 11 years of my career in Michigan (7 of those in Holland where Lake effect snow dumps extra snow) and never have I not been able to to make it to work as a result of the snow. It might take me longer, but I have always made it. The part of this that cracks me up is what a big deal is being made and plans being changed in ANTICIPATION of a big snow storm. we don’t even know if it is going to hit here but people are already banking on how horrible it is going to be. Northerners need to suck it up and get work. Vacation is meant to be taken in the summer when Michigan is most enjoyable. I think everyone is grasping at the excitement of those childhood snow days is all!

  7. Ahhh but many not most have PTO. There are plenty of employers (like ones I’ve worked for) that have vacation time – which needs prior approval or sick days and nothing in between. They frown on calling in sick for kid-related stuff…yet can’t get prior approval on a vacation day for snow.

    I do think the best course is to be adults. If they need to be at home or it seems they may not get into work, bring work home. If they won’t get the work done, admit it and if they can take time off do so. And certainly don’t be wimpy.

    But I also think HR needs to be adults, too. How about punishing those that don’t get the work done instead of assuming all your workers are not adults and will abuse a snow day. From what I’ve seen far less abuse it, than don’t…and HR would be better served talking to them directly instead of bitching at everyone!

  8. Leanne,

    Explain to me how a Snow Day is different than any other day when something comes up with one of our children? If your child is sick, what are you suppose to do? That’s why most employers have PTO. It’s for those times when unexpected things happen – sick kid, snow day, valentines day party, etc.

    I don’t think it’s naive to think it unfair that because you have a kid, you should get a snow day, but those employees without snow days should come to work. I didn’t insist they come in – in fact I said if it’s dangerous, wait, don’t come in. It’s a balance, do you need the whole day off , when the roads are clear by 11am? No, wait until it’s safe then come to work – if you can’t find proper childcare – take PTO, or vacation or maybe have a backup plan.

  9. And what about your employees who have kids who don’t have school. Should they call in sick, take a vacation day, or just leave the kids home alone?

    You are a bit naive. I live in Boston – I’m cool with snow. But we’re going to get 15-20 inches where I live and it will be combined with an ice storm. It will be downright dangerous to be on the roads…for your employees and anyone they may hit on their way to your place of employment because you insist they come in.

    Finally – my Dad was that guy…always. He did just that in a storm like this and got stuck on a highway that got closed. He had to be rescued by national guard, driven home, get the car towed and then pay a hefty $300 to get it back. Great use of taxpayer money and my Dad’s time the next work day to get the car back.

    So sure…I’ll get right on getting to work.

  10. Having had employees call in after a 5 inch snowfall I can agree wholeheartedly. I live 40+ miles from the office and if I can make it in, just about anyone can even if they drive a Corvette. But then again, if you can afford a ‘vette, you can afford a winter car as well

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