Plowing towards your future

Joe Sherren
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Don’t get stuck in a drift

This year P.E.I. has been experiencing more weather-related business interruptions, school cancellations and work absences than in recent history. This is resulting in many negative consequences.

Hourly workers do not get paid, business have less revenue while their costs continue, governments are paying sizable salaries, but no work is getting done and students are missing critical classroom time.

Does this have to be the case? Perhaps it is time for businesses to think more strategically while individuals should be taking control of their lives and future. I believe the paradigm of insisting workers need to come to “the office” to do their work is an outdated concept.

Forward-thinking businesses are setting up flexible work programs that allow workers to be productive, even when there are interruptions due to weather, traffic, family matters or other personal challenges.

Progressive educational institutions now provide webinars, self-paced learning tools and on-line teaching methods so students who have transportation issues are able to keep up with the curriculum.

Almost every household (or individual) has a computer. If not, maybe it is time for schools to provide them when students enroll.

In the U.S.A., some federal government agencies allow employees to work almost anywhere at any time. They are breaking down traditional structures to create more flexibility and lower costs. They can encounter a snow day without disruption. These agencies are showing that increasing workplace flexibility has many benefits.

Working remotely can accelerate decision-making, increase productivity and improve culture. For other agencies or departments who insist on a traditional structure, a snow day causes a serious loss of productivity resulting in tax increases.

For individuals who cannot make it into work due to weather or some other reason beyond their control, here are ideas on how to avoid frustration and be more productive:

— Educate yourself: This is a great day to read a book, watch a personal development seminar or listen to a motivational tape.

— Make connections: Snow days provide the perfect opportunity to make new business contacts or reconnect will old ones. You probably have clients or potential clients in other regions which are not experiencing bad weather.

— Review personal goals: Evaluate if you are engaging in the most appropriate activities for success and make necessary adjustments.

— Family matters: This is a great day to spend quality time with family. Some of my P.E.I. Facebook friends spent days with their kids baking cookies and playing games. How special is that!

For managers:

— Review your annual goals, strategic plan and update your to-do list.

— Have a group discussion with your team on Skype, Google Hangout or a conference call. You will get full participation since there will not be office distractions.

— Catch up on your one-on-one coaching sessions. Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. However, a good storm-day Skype call will allow you to catch up with employees. Check in on how they are progressing on their objectives. Discuss issues they are encountering which they want to talk about.

— Call each employee. Let them know how pleased you are with a specific project they are working on. Ask them for ideas on solving a particular challenge the department is facing.

People who experience a life of success and happiness often remain productive even when unscheduled interruptions occur. One enterprising car sales person I know did make it to the dealership during a major snow storm, so did the general manager.

Between them they came up with an idea for special “snow-day only pricing” on four-wheel drive vehicles. She went on social media and blasted it out, even offering to pick up anyone seriously considering purchasing. She sold more vehicles than any other day that year.

My question for managers this week: What are you doing to maximize productivity for your organization while allowing employees to be flexible, stay safe and balance their personal and professional lives?

Joseph Sherren, CSP, CSPGlobal, HoF, Canada’s Management Effectiveness Expert works with organizations and individuals helping them achieve their critical objectives.

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • don
    April 07, 2014 - 19:18

    teachers are paid for teaching our kids for 180 days so we want the 180 days..

  • James Halstrum
    April 06, 2014 - 07:38

    There are a great number of High and Low Level Official, young WANNA-B Addicts and Pro Drug Parent - Islanders swimming in De Nile ( it's not even a river ) and they are content to swin in it, with others, and watch this generation of PEI KIDS and MINORS go down the OUT HOUSE TOILET, with the past generations. The ONLY HOPE for change is with the next generation of better ADDICTION educated, more aware + non DE Nile swiming Officials, Parents, Kids and Minors = For the Future of PEI and Canada.