What happens when your employees can't get to work?

There was a time when waking up after a massive snowstorm was a joyous occasion. You’d sit down to watch TV or listen to the radio, hoping to hear your school’s name on a list of those closed for the day. There really wasn’t anything better in the winter than a snow day.

Sadly, however, those days are long gone. There are a lot of perks to being an adult, but one of the drawbacks is that having an entire office stay home for a few days when the weather gets rough simply isn’t an option.

That being said, working from home poses a lot of challenges too. Aside from having to deal with kids loudly enjoying their snow day, remotely accessing business applications can be difficult.

Forcing employees to come in during a blizzard is reckless

Many more thoughtless employers believe the answer to this problem to be simply requiring employees to get to work regardless of the weather conditions. While maintaining business continuity is incredibly important to profits, at the end of the day your employees are really the only irreplaceable part of your operation. With the U.S. Department of Transportation having found that more than 31 percent of fatal weather-related car crashes happened due to snow and ice between 2004 and 2013, requiring people to come into work under such conditions could prove to be deadly.

Don't force your workers to come in on a snowy day. Driving in the snow is dangerous.

What’s more, getting to the office in a blizzard can actually be illegal. During winter storm Jonas in January 2016, New York City and Long Island were forced to ban traveling. This included trains and city mass transit, and also driving in the tunnels and onto bridges. So not only is forcing employees to come in during a massive snow storm incredibly heartless, it could be illegal.

Working from home is a start, but there’s a catch

All this being said, your business likely can’t just stop operations for a few days while a storm blows over. Your clients and partners demand continuity, which means employees will have to work from home when the snow falls heavily. Certain business applications are absolutely vital to your company’s work, and yet quite a few of these systems may not be able to be accessed while at home. They require employees to be in the office when utilizing them, severely cutting down on what your employees can do while at home.

While this is clearly a major problem for employees that rely on mission-critical applications to get their work done, there are other logistics to be considered when implementing a work-from-home initiative in the wake of a disaster. According to the Pew Research Center, 67 percent of Americans have a broadband connection at home. While that’s still a majority, it shows a massive hurdle many companies will have to overcome when trying to maintain business continuity after a disaster. A proportion of your employees may not have high-speed Internet at home, which means their ability to stay productive is going to severely drop.

“Employers need to have a plan in place.”

Proper planning is vital

What all this means is that employers need to have a plan in place for the eventuality of workers being snowed in. This includes having a lengthy discussion with employees about their home situations, including their ability to connect to the Internet if the need for them to work from home should arise.

It also means that cloud-based disaster recovery is an absolute must for those businesses operating in colder climates. Blizzards are a very real threat to business continuity, and not being able to access your applications in the event of such a disaster could be costly to your operations.

Consult with an ISG Technology disaster recovery professional today and save yourself the headache of an adult snow day.