Managing your team in extreme weather conditions [CHECKLIST]
With forecasters predicting up to four months of stormy weather ahead, Britain could be facing the worst winter in 100 years. Managing your team during a period of disruption can be a challenge, so here’s a quick checklist to make sure you’ve given yourself the best chance of success.
With experts EXACTA WEATHER warning Brits to expect a very “exciting” December – even hinting at a potential White Christmas – businesses should be aware of the knock-on effect to operations within their own organisation.
So, what can employers do to minimise the disruption to business and help avoid risks to the safety of their employees?
1. Plan Ahead
During severe weather conditions, employees could be late or unable to get to work at all due to travel disruption. If you do not currently have procedures in place to enable your organisation to effectively manage adverse weather conditions, then now is the time to do so.
- Employees are responsible for getting themselves to work
- If the employee does not arrive at work, the employer does not have to pay them
- If the employee arrives at work late, the employer does not have to pay them for the hours not worked
2. Take a fair and reasonable approach
Take a fair and reasonable approach where employees arrive late or are unable to attend work at all.
Consider the following practical solutions:
- In the first instance, if the employee’s usual method of transport is not available, ask them to do all they can to use alternative methods to get to work
- Employees could work from home or at an alternative office/site that they can get to wherever this is possible
- Consider altering working times in agreement with employees wherever this is possible
- Allow employees to take any outstanding lieu time or flexi-time if available
- Allow employees to take the time off as holiday, if available, (although remember that employers cannot require employees to take holiday entitlement at short notice)
3. Set clear expectations for getting to work in snow and icy conditions
You will expect employees to turn up for work by whatever reasonable means is available to them. But this must be at their own discretion, dependent on the weather conditions in their own area, the availability of transport and without added risk to their own personal safety.
Employees who live within a close distance of their workplace can be expected to attend for work wherever it is possible for them to walk. Whether or not this will be possible is a matter for consideration between the employer and the employee.
You will need to consider:
- the distance involved to get from the employee’s home to the workplace
- the weather conditions
- the time of day
- the general health of the employee
- Employees who drive as part of their duties
And where you require your workers to drive as part of their everyday duties, you will also need to consider:
- the health and safety risks of driving in adverse weather conditions
- the weather effects (for example, whether the employee is snowed in or stranded in a remote location)
- increased travel times (to and from appointments for example)
- ensuring that appropriate rest breaks are taken by the employee