Well, unless you live under a rock it's obvious the Midwest has been slammed by the Snow Gods. Now twice.
The first storm rolled through last week leaving the majority of Kansas City under about 10 inches of snow.
This second round looks to be about the same, maybe a few more inches.
Let panic ensue. Our friends to the North are laughing at us, I'm sure. We are rendered practically useless when this happens.
Forget an actual terror act. This'll do it.
Being from the Midwest (and loving drama), we act as though the end of the world is coming when it snows. We slam the stores for essentials, forcing them to run low or out of bread, milk, eggs. A friend of mine saw a run on chicken stock. Go figure.
Then everything closes. As it should. The harsh reality is that Kansas Citians cannot maneuver the roads. We slide into each other, off into medians and ditches and cause hundreds of accidents..... Just when it rains. When the rain turns to snow- we are screwed.
Employers seem to get frustrated. Thus controversy begins.
Do we close? Do we ask people to try to get in? Do we have any liability if an employee crashes on the way to work? What should we do?
I have a good rule of thumb, although its not going to be popular. Follow the schools.
Okay, before screaming at the screen- pause one second. The majority of urban and suburban schools close for two reasons: inclement weather (snow/ice, driving conditions not acceptable) and severe cold (can't have kids standing at bus stops). The latter we could avoid... Since all our cars now come equipped with hot blowing air. The first? CLOSE.
Stating the obvious first..... If you employee 100 employees chances are at least 80% of them are parents. At least 75% of that group has school aged kids or younger.
Remove the 20% of employees of the remaining group that have 1) stay at home spouses or 2) live in nannies.
Now you are down to the rest. Still the majority. Their kids schools are closed. Their daycare is closed. And the back up sitters? Well, add another hour and a half on the roads (at least) for employees to get there before starting their 2 (or 3) hour commute to work (see above- Kc drivers cannot drive). Maybe, just maybe they will get to work by 10 or 11. Then start their 4 hour journey back home.
I have to believe liability plays in here somewhere. What happens when an employee gets in a wreck on their way? I'm sure nothing... But BAD PR.
Unless you are in the medical field, most organizations would be safer to just close. Give their employees a sense you care. Show them their safety is more important. Wait the 24 hours or so for it to clear. Then it's business as usual.
It's the right thing to do.
Instead many of my friends will trek to work. They feel threatened, forced to use their sacred vacation days.
The real issue? They aren't productive anyway. Employers have to know this. Employees are scattered, nervous and worried. They won't get much of anything done even if they make it in.
As I sit in my dark hotel 2 1/2 hours away from home that is also snow covered and has lost power due to transformer blow, I can't help but wonder what we would really do in case of true emergency.
But the good news is we will have plenty of bread. Hallelujah!
Be careful today, Midwesterners. Be smart. And enjoy Gods gift of beauty.