Working remotely when winter weather gets in the way of your commute
Snow storms, blizzards, and nor’easters—when winter weather gets really bad, it can not only grind traffic to a halt, but also actually stop you from getting to work at all. And while snow days might sound like fun, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be when the clock’s ticking on deadlines and work needs to be done. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan B ready in case you can’t make it into the office. Here are some tips to be prepared for telecommuting during severe winter storms:
- Discuss working remotely ahead of time with your supervisor. Keep an eye on the weather report, and if a storm is on the way, talk to your supervisor about working from home that day. In her Forbes article “How to Get Your Boss to Let You Work From Home,” Nancy Collamer advises anticipating your supervisor’s concerns. For example, if he or she is concerned you won’t be as productive at home, you could point out that you won’t lose productivity due to getting into the office late or being stuck in traffic.
- Prepare your devices and materials for remote work. If your office uses any cloud-based platforms like a company intranet, collaboration software, or file-sharing platform, set it up on your laptop (if company policy allows). Make sure that you have access to all the files and tools you need to do your work.
- Synch your calendar. If you’ve got any looming deadlines or scheduled telemeetings, make sure your calendar on your phone and/or laptop is synched with your work calendar. That way, you’ll have all the information you need, such as the exact time a project needs to be delivered or the contact details of the person you’re meeting with.
- Select a quiet place that can function as a temporary office. If you want to maintain the same level of productivity as at the office, it’s important that you can focus. Set up your office in a room with a door so you can block out any noises from TV, voices, and other distractions. Make sure you have a desk, chair, reliable Internet, and sufficient power outlets. If other family members are at home, ask them not to disturb you while you’re working, and turn down the ringer on any home phones so you’re not distracted by social calls.
- Keep your phone and laptop or tablet charged. Storms often cause power outages, so make sure to keep your devices charged. That way, unless an outage lasts a really long time, you’ll have enough battery life to carry you over until the power is back on again.
If you keep these tips in mind, even the worst winter storm won’t get in the way of your productivity. And that will not only prevent you from having to work overtime to catch up; it will also help your overall professional performance.