If your employer made you work late during a blizzard, you were probably very upset. Driving in blizzard conditions is not just tricky, it’s also very unsafe. Many companies allow their employees to leave early, to help them make it home safely. Thankfully, you were able to make it home this time, but consider developing a few strategies to negotiate with your boss the next time a major snowstorm hits your area.
Work From Home
An employee tasked with job duties that can be conducted remotely might be permitted to work from home during snowstorms. She would simply work during the same hours she would in the office, connecting with colleagues through email, instant messenger, phone and web chats. If you have responsibilities that can be conducted remotely, talk to your boss about arranging to work from home during emergency situations, weather-related or otherwise. If he understands that you’re still willing to do the same amount of work from home, he may be willing to try it.
Paid Time Off
Many employers allow their workers to take paid time off during periods of hazardous road conditions. This benefits both parties as it ensures workers aren’t carelessly taking time off and gives employees the option to stay home if they don’t feel it’s safe to drive. Talk to your employer and offer to take paid time off if you feel it’s snowing hard enough that you shouldn’t be at work. He won’t feel that you’re trying to slack off, and you’ll get to leave work before road conditions get too treacherous.
Lack of Business
If you work in a retail environment or any type of customer-contact business, there’s a very good chance that you’re not going to have a lot of people coming in during a blizzard. When the roads are unsafe to drive, people tend to stay home when at all possible. Explain to your employer that he’s actually losing money by keeping you on the clock because the company won’t make enough in sales to cover your salary. Using money to explain why you shouldn’t be working during a blizzard may get his attention.
When road conditions are dangerous to drive in, many employers simply leave it up to the discretion of their employees on whether or not they think a safe commute is possible. If a worker doesn’t think she can make it in safely, she’s not penalized for her absence. Employers care about their workers and don’t want them to get hurt coming into work when the roads are bad. Reason with your employer that you’re not trying to leave work early or miss a day because you don’t want to come in; you’re simply concerned that you’ll get into a car accident. No employer wants to feel responsible for their employees getting injured in a car accident because they were forced to drive to work in unsafe conditions, so this may make him lighten up.
- CBS Local; Winter Snowstorms -- Should You Make Your Employees Come to Work?; Suzanne Lucas
- IndyStar.com; Blizzard 2012 -- Many Workers Off for Bad Weather Face Day-After Decisions; Dana Hunsinger Benbow
- New Haven Independent; Biggest Blizzard In A Century -- Drivers Defying Ban Hinder City’s Efforts To Plow The Streets; Melissa Bailey and Paul Bass
Laura Woods is a Los Angeles-based writer with more than six years of marketing experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.