Sleet, snow and strikes – can you afford the disruption?

It’s not looking good for employees trying to make it to work throughout this week and into the next. Some businesses really can’t afford the disruption, so how can they help to get their staff into work?

From changing your policies to hiring a 4×4, we’ve given you some creative solutions in this week’s blog…

With the temperatures plunging and the strikes in the South ongoing, you may be tempted to think that the rail unions received insider information on the weather. Whilst the TV channels show pictures of overcrowded stations, they do not show the empty offices that this disruption causes.
As the forecast get worse and temperatures are set to plummet to as low as -10° in parts of Scotland, are you prepared for the havoc that snow brings to our transport system?
Firstly, let’s all remember that getting to work is the employee’s responsibility – you do not have to pay a member of staff if they don’t show up. Equally though, you could be liable if you forced them to make a dangerous journey and they injured themselves. So the answer here, as all good Boy Scouts know, is to ‘be prepared’.
What is the forecast in your area? Are any strikes planned? Who in your team will this affect and what steps can you take to minimise the impact? Factor in who has school-age children (not just the women – men have childcare responsibilities too) and which schools are likely to be closed. Parents are entitled to take unpaid time off to deal with a dependent emergency like this.
For some businesses, it is easy for staff to work from home. But for others providing face-to-face customer service, or travelling to provide services, this is not an option. In such industries, businesses should think well in advance about a creative solution to their problems.  Why not hire a mini bus or a large off-road vehicle? It’s an added cost, one that could be worth it if the alternative (shutting down for the day) is completely off the cards.
It is at this time that everyone wishes the ‘severe weather’ policy had actually been written instead of staying on the to-do list. Don’t put it off. We of course can help you to put one together that’s right for your business. Below though you’ll find some winter weather resources for you ready to go.
Here’s our Winter Weather Checklist, tick it off as you go so you know you really are prepared for anything.  
We’ve some tips here for managing staff in cold weather, also talking you through the legal minimum working temperature.

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Ian heads up the HR Dept Edinburgh & the Lothians team. The HR Dept specialises in helping SMEs with everything to with employment, through a local and personal service delivering practical and pragmatic advice and support. With nearly 30 years HR experience, Ian has a wealth of experience in helping businesses to ensure success through their people, be legally compliant and handle tricky people issues. As a business owner himself, Ian understands the challenges that come with running and growing a business. He is known for his ability to explain complex concepts simply and to make learning fun and enjoyable.