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Winter storm watch: 5 ways to stay productive when telecommuting during emergency weather situations
With winter storm Jonas disrupting the east coast, businesses and schools have already shut down and started emergency precautions.
For those fortunate to work for a company that allows telecommuting or flexible work options, they will get a welcome break from being forced to battle the winter elements to get to work. And while the weekend may be a welcome reprieve from worrying about commuting during the work week, cleanup efforts will no doubt go into next week, causing continued disruptions for families, workers and businesses long past the initial impact of the storm.
Telecommuting, and the option to telecommute during emergency weather situations, can keep employees productive and most important, safe, during times of harsh/emergency weather. This can also improve workplace morale and loyalty, as it reduces stress for the employee who is not forced to come into work during emergency weather situations. In addition, they can remain focused and productive during times where others may need to shut down.
For employers, FlexJobs CEO Sara Sutton Fell recommends installing an occasional telecommuting arrangement before bad weather hits, such as allowing people to telecommute one time per week, to create a more seamless transition to working from home for weather-related reasons.
For employers not familiar with telecommuting, here are some tips to consider to prepare to be productive when working at home, from Fell:
1. Identify Your Work Space: Alternatives to a home office, if you don't have one set up already, include: the attic, the garage, a small closet. Gather the essentials for quiet work: headphones, cell phone, earplugs, lamp, mouse pad, laptop + charger, pen, paper, etc.
2. Make Backup Internet Plans: Know which local establishments offer free Wi-Fi ahead of time (if you can venture out). But don’t show up empty handed. Bring a power strip and all of the cords necessary to charge your various devices (a tote is handy here). Note: You will be popular at Starbucks if you have a power strip!
3. Save Your Work. A Lot.: Don’t rely on Google Docs or other online tools; to be safe, save as Word documents. One fallen tree, one blast of wind, can take your work away in a second. And as long as your cell service is on, you can create your own personal hot spot.
4. Swap childcare duties with spouse or neighbors: If there are other neighborhood families stuck without daycare, consider swapping children for a few hours. Or if your partner has vacation days to use, consider asking him/her to be on full-time childcare duty while you work.
5. Set Expectations: Set rules for when you can or cannot be disturbed, setting a code signal for an emergency, or writing your schedule out for others in the house and prioritizing based on what you must get done. Set rules for when you can or cannot be disturbed, setting a code signal for an emergency, or writing your schedule out for others in the house and prioritizing based on what you must get done.
Not satisfied with your current work arrangement? Want more flexibility in your career or job? Then it's time to contact Matt Krumrie to update your resume and start your flexible job search to find that perfect telecommute, remote or work at home opportunity.
About Matt Krumrie
In addition to writing resumes and cover letters, Krumrie has published over 2,000 career and job search articles for the Star Tribune, Flexjobs.com, Ziprecruiter.com and more.