I think most of us have a little bit by now, and some of us have had quite a lot…
It’s that time of year when the UK grinds to a stand still, OAPs panic buy enough milk to last till summer and we all suddenly make friends with our neighbours. The whole thing costs our economy a fortune. Snow time.
This year’s snow observations
Last year I wrote quite a few posts on the effect the snow has on home working and people’s perception of home working. In Snow Observations I mentioned the problems my husband had had getting to work and the fact his company weren’t keen on home working.
“I later asked him (my husband) if he could work from home…y’know, if he wanted to? He explained that he needed to get some security codes from work and they didn’t give them out to just anyone, so basically no. Hmmmm…I’ve read varying reports of what the disruption caused by snow will cost the economy but it’s more than likely it will be in the billions. It seems to me that with the increase in use of broadband many companies could start to rethink their attitude to allowing occasional remote working. Hey, it might actually help the UK economy!“
It was the day he returned after last year’s snow that he heard about redundancies being made at his company, he lost his job in March. He now has a new job and works for a company who are much more upbeat about home working. He set up his Virtual Private Network on Tuesday and has been able to work quite happily from home over the last two days (though he did moan a few times about the lack of monitors, I think he has 2 at work). The VPN access allows him to see a representation of his desk top remotely. I haven’t been able to experience this because I don’t have a desktop at the University, just the one here at home. His company issue guidelines on VPN use with some key points, for example they suggest that those working from a remote machine should ensure that nobody else will need to use it in their absence. All sounds fairly sensible to me. The company is based in a fairly remote location and has lots of staff based in international offices so remote working is much more a part of the infrastructure.
Last year I also asked “Are remote workers getting a raw deal? It’s almost as if they are expected to carry on regardless.” This comment stems from the fact that the University shuts (this year it has been shut for 3 days so far) but as a remote worker you are still expected to work (while others who work on site aren’t). The big irony for me this year has been that although I’m a remote worker I haven’t been able to work during the snowy period because my children have been off school and nursery. I’ve had to take days off. I suppose some might say that the choice to have children was mine and that remote working has many benefits so the disadvantages just have to be dealt with. As my dad would put it “if you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined” (apparently an old army saying).
So what’s different this year?
All in all it does feel like a lot more people are managing to carry on regardless. Twitter has been very supportive with tweets from people and organisations on which roads are dangerous, whether places are open or not and how the land lies in different locations. Brian Kelly discussed how Universities have been using Twitter during the snowy period – Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow. The comments discussing various alerting systems (such as Facebook, Web site, text alerts etc.) are interesting too. My children’s primary school has now set up a text alerting system to inform parents of whether the school is open or not. This has been a big help, I don’t even need to get out of bed to find out that my day has been shaken up again!
It looks like there is more snow to come, so wrap up warm and get remote working.