C’mon. Admit it. If you are heading to work in a part of the country that is about to get another icy blast of winter weather, wouldn’t you rather just stay home? I sure would. Work most days is tough enough without the added stress of guiding your vehicle — or using public transportation — in the midst of a major snow event, as the TV weather guys might describe it.
Of course, that’s easy for me to say these days. I work at home, with a commute of 13 stairs coming and going. So it was kinda interesting that when when I made it to the office this morning and fired up the computer the first story that I saw via a Google Alert came from NPR: “For Telecommuters, It’s Not About Going to Work.”
It appears, according to the article, that an estimated 17 million Americans telecommute at least part time — and I expect that there are millions more who operate their own businesses or work primarily out of their homes.
I was thinking about that this morning because of the snow emergency — and related federal government and business and school closings — Inside the Beltway. DC — and adjoining states and communities — have been buried in snow since the weekend — with another blast of possibly 20 more inches on the way today and tomorrow. Oh, boy.
Federal government offices have been closed now since around noon Friday — and they are going to remain closed today. And many businesses — including the one that I’m now working with, Corporate Voices for Working Families — follow the lead of the federal government. That’s a lot of people not working — and with the potential for more snow days this week, followed by a federal holiday next Monday.
Most people — including me — don’t have a problem with closings during snow emergencies. Hey, it’s a worldview we develop as kids, hiding under the blanket hoping for a day away from school.
And I’ve talked in recent days to a number of people in DC and it’s not just a mess — it’s dangerous to be on the roads and virtually impossible to get around with public transportation operating on reduced schedules, if at all.
Still, office and plant closings — and school closings — are difficult decisions for managers to make. And I expect the decision to shut the federal government offices in DC is especially difficult — given the estimate that I heard on CNN that put lost productivity at $100 million a day.
Wonder how many federal government employees can telecommute, if even during a snow day or other emergency? I can’t imagine that it is easy or even possible to verify the $100 million a day number — but if it is even in the ballpark, seems like telecommuting would be something worth looking at.
And by the way, there are snow emergencies posted in NE Ohio for tonight and tomorrow.
Let’s hope it doesn’t add any time or stress to my commute.