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Persistent heavy snowfall throughout December has led to closed roads, power outages, suspended flights and forced many businesses to close.

It was reported that the snowfall on 11th December alone cost the UK £1 billion in lost economic output, much of which is down to employees being unable to reach their place of work. 

Adverse weather conditions can have a catastrophic effect on organisations which do not have contingency plans in place to ensure that the workforce is managed successfully. Effective absence management and flexible working schedules are key to maintaining staff productivity when an organisation is affected by unforeseen circumstances.

Here are 4 steps to help you minimise the impact of adverse weather:

1. Be flexible:

Consider the benefits of introducing flexible working contracts and patterns within your organisation that give you the ability to manage labour more effectively when responding to developing situations

These could include:

  • The ability to “flex up” and “flex down” both teams’ and individuals’ hours in a controlled manner without affecting remuneration
  • Banked hours or reserve hours systems
  • Extended shifts or additional shifts
  • Multi skilling which provides the ability to utilise employees from neighbouring departments
  • Start and finish times that dovetail well with public transport to ensure that, if employees have to use public transport, they can still attend work near to their planned time

2. Assess your business demand:

It is important to conduct an assessment of your business demand to fully understand the requirements for your products and/or services and whether you have the opportunity to reschedule some of that demand into “lower risk” periods.

3. Create clear policies and procedures:

Ensure you have clear policies and procedures around how your business manages circumstances such as adverse weather. Your policy should contain guidance on what employees should do in the event of workplace closures, disruptions to public transport or needing to work from home. Ensure these policies and procedures are communicated and understood by all employees.

4. Workforce planning and management solutions:

Organisations should be consider adopting tools that help to effectively manage their workforce. Workforce planning and management technology can help organisations with shift workers to optimise and support their core workforce, providing the capability to flex up or down during unexpected events.

To find out more about how your organisation can use workforce planning processes and technology to prepare as effectively as possible for extreme events such as bad weather read our white paper on this topic. Although the white paper is principally focused on utility companies, it contains information and advice that is relevant to all sectors.

If you are worried about your ability to manage weather events or other scenarios that negatively affect your labour supply, you can contact us to arrange a free one-to-one consultation with one of our experts. 

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