Snow Day, Anyone?

Jan. 10, 2018

Updated: Nov. 5, 2018

Declaring a snow day may not be as horrible for business as you think.

Every winter, business owners and managers have to face the looming probability of having to shut their doors due to inclement winter weather, and the decision is always a hard one in the end. Making judgment calls based on weather predictions and road conditions before 6:00 AM isn’t an easy feat.
Managers often find themselves in a Catch-22, not wanting employee productivity to drop, but also not wanting staff to travel to work in heavy snow (safety is always a priority). However, if your office shuts completely down every time there’s inclement weather, it makes your business look unreliable and gives the competition an edge.

Luckily, technology has saved us and many of our clients over the years. Not only is Domain staff still productive during delayed openings, but we’re actually even more productive when we have a full snow day.

Upon further analysis, it makes sense.

On a snow day, there’s no ambiguity as to what is expected of staff. Our office communication and server systems support remote work access, and staff is expected to be plugged in from home at the same time they would typically be in the office. Theoretically, there should be no loss in productivity or gaps in availability throughout the entire day. We do recognize, of course, that shoveling driveways and building a snowman with the kids may break up the day here and there, but such is the woeful caveat to working remotely — we’re afraid you’ll just have to take one for the team.

With a delayed opening, employees begin the day in limbo. You don’t know whether to start preparing for a commute that will take longer than normal, or plan to be productive performing remote work at home. This means very little work is accomplished for the first half of the day, as staff are worrying about what’s expected of them. Not only are staff unproductive during the delay, but they’re delayed even further during their commutes, which are now slower and longer due to potentially dangerous weather conditions.

The numbers don’t lie, because of our remote access technology, we have approximately 90% staff productivity on a full snow day and only 75% staff productivity with a delayed opening. Same employees, same workload, two different circumstances.

The numbers don’t lie,

because of our remote access technology – we have approximately 90% staff productivity on a full snow day and only 75% staff productivity with a delayed opening. Same employees, same workload, two different circumstances.

We’ve run this test on more than one occasion during inclement weather conditions. Not everyone was good at being productive from home – some staff performed at 40%, and others were at 110%! Alright, maybe technology isn’t the magic button for all of our staff, but now we know who could handle a flex-schedule, and who would potentially struggle.
Side note: You may be wondering how we measure our productivity. We’ve developed our own tools to measure utilization, and you have the opportunity to use them in your business, too. Ask us about it!

Honestly, we still don’t know if we fully believe the numbers. Other metrics such as response time, company culture, equitable distribution of stress, etc. may still need to be evaluated in order to account for the environment shift as well. However, if employee productivity alone was the only metric we cared about, we would definitely have more snow days and less delayed openings.

The big question: has your company invested in technology solutions that will allow them to be productive when they work outside of the office? We’re not just talking about email access — although if your employees can’t access their email remotely, you’re way behind the curve. In order to be productive and work efficiently from any remote location, your employees need access to your company’s network folders, business critical software applications (CRM, company database, quoting system, practice management software, line-of-business application, etc.), phone system, email, and other network collaboration/communication tools. Not only do your employees need access to these tools, that access needs to be secure.

In order to keep your employees productive, even on a snow day, Domain Computer Services is offering our personally developed Telecommuter Toolkit. By implementing the following technologies, your employees will enjoy secure universal access to all of their business critical data and communication tools.

Telecommuter Toolkit:

  1. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services Terminal Server
    1. Super fast access to server resources, databases, and CRM over a home Internet connection.
  2. Sonicwall VPN
    1. Secure and encrypt remote access sessions.
  3. IP Based Office Softphones
    1. Connect and call from office extensions on PCs or tablets at home.
  4. Microsoft Lync
    1. Instantly chat or call with the office in real time, know who is plugged in, and stay connected on snow days!
  5. RSA Multi-factor Authentication Token
    1. Ensure connection is secure, so only your staff can access the office remotely.

If you are interested in learning how to maximize your employees’ productivity inside and outside of the office by utilizing remote work, our Telecommuter Toolkit just might be the ticket. Introduce it to your boss and you may not get as much flack next time you ask to work from home.

Click here to contact us to learn more about the Telecommuter Toolkit!

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