Experts are encouraging bosses to treat dangerous weather conditions as an opportunity to build trust with workers stuck at home amid fears that businesses will lose revenue from poor flexible working policies. Brits nationwide have been left to face potentially dangerous road conditions and power outages following a cold snap this weekend, and bosses could withhold pay for lost working hours.
HR and recruitment leaders CIPD are urging employers to consider giving their employees the ability to work home in the snow, considering it a perfect ability to build trust with stranded staff and minimise the unavoidable disruption. The specialists believe that sensitively handling bad weather and travel disruption can offer an opportunity for employers to lift both morale and productivity, providing a boost to employee relations.
“Employers should have flexible working and trust embedded in their organisations to support staff during times of disruption,” said Nicola Rowledge, people director at online investment firm Nutmeg. “It’s important to have policies for snow days in place, but a longer-term environment of trust and flexible working in an organisation will really help to minimise disruption when staff are affected by snow or adverse weather.”
This weekend, 140,000 homes were reported to have lost power in the cold conditions, while 50,000 airline passengers were stranded at airports and hundreds of schools have been closed, creating challenges for both employers and employees. Not all jobs can be performed remotely, however, and employers should tackle this by creating a ‘bad weather policy’ in the event of an emergency.
“If there is no policy, the employer needs to clarify how they will deal with non-attendance because of bad weather, and apply that to everyone fairly,” said Helen Goss, employment law partner at Boyes told people management. “A bad weather policy is necessary in today’s modern working environment, as while remote working is now very common in certain sectors, not every job can be performed remotely.”