Last week I had not one, but two snow days – and it’s only the beginning of winter. I’m a little frightened by what this Colorado Winter could have in store for us. It really got me thinking about working from home and how that is affected by a snow day. How do you get your work done, still be productive, and maybe have some time to actually enjoy it?
I will preface this by saying that I am incredibly lucky that I work from home, and I have a tween, so having school shut down doesn’t create a major headache in our house. I also know that for all families/workers, this is not the case, so knowing your options ahead of time can help.
Think about your plan in advance.
As I mentioned, I live in Colorado, so I know that snow days are inevitable and I try to plan accordingly. The same can also be true if you live in an area where snow days are not so common. Regardless, winter is here, so it’s a good time to think about your work plan:
- Ask yourself (and your boss), can I work from home if it snows? If the answer is yes, great. Take some time to think about what it will take to work from home successfully, so you can be prepared, and not have to scramble at the last minute. If you can’t…
- Can you take time off? It’s a good time to check your PTO policy, how much time you have available, or even your company’s inclement weather policy. If you can’t…
- What is your back-up? Talk to neighbors that also have kids (bonus if they are in the same school!). Do you have family close by? The key here is to have the discussion before you are in a jam. Once you have that conversation, talk about what the plan will be, then touch base when you see that needing that plan may be inevitable.
Snow is here, now what?
- First things first, reschedule any outside meetings as soon as possible. And even think about conference calls that may be longer, or require undivided attention. Can these be rescheduled? Rescheduling when possible takes away some of the stress you may feel trying to juggle your day.
- Think about your normal work day routine, and how you can tweak it to fit the situation. Plan a version of your routine just for snow days. Some examples – start your day earlier, time block around kids screen time, or schedule regular breaks into your routine.
- Stock up on snacks and food. The weather report says snow, so most people run to the store to get milk, bread and eggs. But also have some treats, something to splurge on (Oreo to the rescue), or even simple things like popcorn. And don’t forget the hot cocoa.
- Put the family to work…hand out some age appropriate chores, make some time for reading and use a timer to enforce it. If you have older kids, have them help out with some of your busy work.
- Set boundaries wherever possible. You will probably need some do not disturb time, so let them know that. Make it clear that if the office door is closed, or you have your headphones on, that this means quiet/do not disturb time. Give an activity – or put on a movie, give a craft or coloring “assignment.”
It’s never going to be a perfect storm when you are saddled with a snow day. Just like anything else, advance planning will always be helpful. Try to have patience, try to relax, and if you can try to have some fun with it.
What are some things you do to plan for situations that can wreak havoc on your regular work day? Share in the comments below.