As any third grader will tell you, there’s really nothing better than a snow day. You’re up early and dressed, because you weren’t sure if the bus was coming. And though it usually requires 45 minutes of parental nagging to get you to put on your boots and coat, once you confirm classes or cancelled, you can be fully bundled up and ready for action in 3.5 seconds. And you feel certain that just because the roads are too dangerous for buses, that’s no excuse for mom and dad not to drive you to your best friend’s house or the nearest sledding hill.
For working grown-ups, however, a snow day can mean falling behind, sacrificing a vacation day, or in some cases not getting paid. If you’re an exempt worker and your office closes due to inclement weather, your employer is legally required to pay you, unless you had already scheduled the day off. But even if you’re not going to loose out on pay or time off, you may be facing the anxiety that comes with missed work.
If you work in snow country, you know snow days are going to happen. You may not know when, but you know they’re coming. Here are five tips to help you survive them:
- Plan for the (un)expected. Snow days are going to happen, so talk with your employer about having the equipment and access you need to work from home. For many employees, just keeping up with email can eliminate stress and make it easier to return to the office when the storm passes.
- Watch the forecast. We usually get a few days warning before a snowstorm. If you know it’s coming, you can adjust your schedule. Move meetings, change travel plans, or look for ways to connect with colleagues online of over the phone.
- Look for back-up. If you’re home with kids on a snow day, it can be hard to concentrate on work. Coordinate with other parents in the neighborhood. You watch their kids for a couple of hours, and they return the favor later on, giving you both a little quiet time to get things done. If this isn’t an option, toss out your screen-time restrictions and let the kids enjoy a movie while you work.
- Find a quiet workspace at home. It may be tempting to hunker down on the couch with a laptop and a bag of chips, while the TV plays in the background. But a quiet, dedicated workspace will allow you to be more productive.
- Have some fun. It’s a snow day, after all, and there’s no reason you can’t let your inner third grader enjoy it. Have a snowball fight or go sledding with the kids. It’ll help wear them out, and give you a well deserved break from work.
Just for fun, here are the Top 10 U.S. locations with the most snow days per year.