In case you haven't heard, snow is approaching. As the area braces for its first major winter event, companies struggle to maintain a balance between productivity and safety concerns.
Companies know dangerous driving conditions, impassable roads, stalled mass transit systems and school closings threaten to keep employees home and halt business. And while employees hope for a snow day, they know work doesn't stop because flurries begin to fall.
So the balancing game begins. Do you ask employees to risk life and limb to come into work? Or are snow days an unexpected holiday?
But wait, don't we live in the mobile technology age? Who needs a snow plow when you have a blackberry, laptop and wireless Internet access.
Telecommuting is gaining in popularity, with many companies offering the option as an employment benefit. Still, concerns remain. Security protocols and technical issues continue to stand as hurdles for many companies.
The trick to successful telecommuting is having a corporate plan in place before an event.
Remote access is key. VPN networks address remote access as well as security concerns. A VPN transmits data through a public network using encryption, ensuring access to private company materials without sacrificing security.
And now, with the advent of cloud computing, accessing company communications off-site has become that much easier.
After last year's snowmageddon, the Office of Personnel Management estimated the loss of productivity from federal employees came to about $100 million a day. That's a huge loss in revenue no company wants.
Encouraging telecommuting during inclement weather and personal emergencies can save companies from a similar loss in revenue.
The even brighter upside is a sense of compassion and commitment to employee satisfaction, which can't be measured in dollars alone.