Is this the wrong time of year to be talking about the weather? Well, no – in Britain, that’s never the case.
With flood alerts, 35mph winds, record rainfall and thunderstorms, anyone would be forgiven for thinking it was deepest darkest winter; but no, this is the much loved Great British Summer where anything goes.
Britain is set for a miserable month of wind and rain which could cause anything from minor inconvenience to major disruption across the UK. But what can you do to look after your workers during the bad weather?
From leaves on the line to tube strikes, high winds to too much rain, there’s a plethora of reasons why public transport may be delayed or cancelled in adverse weather, or the roads are busier and slower. Workers are more likely to arrive later than usual, often with the most implausible (but true) travel tales. Others may see the poor weather as a good excuse to take a “duvet day” and still get paid for it.
Workers aren’t automatically entitled to be paid if they’re unable to get to work because of the weather, but you should have a clear and reasonable policy so that workers are aware of what is expected of them. Try to be as flexible as possible; could you consider home working or temporarily altering working hours?
Adverse weather policy
If you plan ahead and pre-empt any weather scenarios that are likely to prevent workers getting to work, you may find you can still run your business effectively. And all this despite a monsoon or mini tornado.
- Providing workers with laptops or smartphones may enable them to work from home efficiently.
- If you have a policy in place that is clear on how you intend to deal with lateness or how the business will continue if workers can’t get to work, there should be less scope for confusion or disagreement. Everyone knows where they stand, and it’s business as usual.
So we’re thinking ahead here, we hope. (At Simplify the Law we like to be prepared for anything.) But when temperatures really start to plummet, your workers are more at risk of stress and depression. Cold stress is brought about from working in cold environments and is most often seen in outdoor workers such as snow clean-up workers, refuse collectors and emergency personnel. But we all know what a downer the weather can be, so it’s important to be prepared!
Making the workplace more bearable
This may sound basic – but make sure the workspace is warm enough. If people are adding jumpers, or keeping their jackets or coats on when they get to work, it might not be just a fashion statement. Try turning the heating up. But don’t turn it into a hothouse. (See what we did there?)
If you manage to handle bad weather in the right way just as workers are despairing of the Great British Summer, you may be able to enhance staff morale. Remember: employees are humans too, and flexibility is the key.
Always look after your staff
While you’re thinking about your staff – and we know you are – you should make sure your policies and procedures are all up to date.
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