You may have noticed this past week that it snowed across UK and Europe. The snow has affected all levels of home and business in some way. For farms, it has meant long days of keeping animals alive and safe, frozen pipes, tractors clearing roads for days and for a lot of farm shops keeping the community fed. For businesses, it’s meant staff unable to reach the office, changes and adaption, potential business loss. For VAs we call it a weekday!
The snow has been very disruptive and for me, I travelled to London for Office Show and the VA Conference on 28 February – 1 March. It was a busy week as well as Blue Ninja Business Support celebrated 5 years in business and I was up for an award for UK Outstanding VA. When I left Scotland I had my trip fully planned. I have my trains booked on Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon and accommodation was booked well in advance. I also packed extra clothes just in case.
Amidst the chaos on Thursday, my one thought was ‘why are people surprised?’ If you know there will be a few snow days it’s best to have a plan. You cannot control the weather, but you can control your decisions.
For Virtual Assistants or VAs, we work from anywhere. Often, snow will not stop our work, but it will affect the people around us, our families and friends. Kids can’t get to school so they are cooped up at home. It’s difficult to get supplies and you can’t get your car out. We are planners though, and I bet if you are working with a VA they have plans in place to make sure they can support you, as well as balance their own situation.
If you are affected by a snow day I recommend the following:
- Don’t be caught out. Have a snow days plan in place – prepare something ahead of time and update it at the start of each winter. Pop a reminder in your calendar to make sure the information is updated yearly.
- Travel may not be possible so don’t stress yourself by trying to keep to your normal schedule. People will understand if you need to cancel and reschedule.
- If you are running a business make sure you have a HR policy in place for snow says so staff are clear on what happens, and be adaptive with them. They can’t change the weather any more than you can!
- Stock up on essentials a couple of days prior and freeze extra meals, bread and milk so you have supplies.
- Have a few days of inside activities planned for kids that will keep them busy for hours (also useful on rainy days). There are heaps of websites that offer suggestions on games and activities to keep the kids busy. If you have people around you with kids, split supervision time with them and give yourselves a break. Kids love the snow so have snow clothes available (remember you can rent from ski shops if that option is available to you) so they can go outside and play!
- Help others. If you have the capacity to help, please do.
- Have your neighbours contact details and keep in touch with them – don’t be alone on snow days and make sure if you have elderly or disabled neighbours that you check on them as their carers or support network may not be able to.
- Have some water stored and extra blankets at arm’s length just in case. Pipes can burst, boilers can break. If you can, keep extra water, blankets and candles (with matches) about for a short-term solution if necessary.
- Relax. You can’t control the weather, so try to make the best of it.
I’ve created a video on my top tips if you get stuck whilst travelling:
Snow days can be a hassle, they can be disruptive but with planning and patience, you can get through them with as minimal disruption as possible.
If you do want some help to plan and prepare, please get in touch with a VA. For a couple of hours that you may need us, we can do a lot to assist you to prepare, reschedule, prepare insurance paperwork and keep people informed. Use a VA to phone ahead to make changes on your behalf. If you need to cancel an event have a VA spend time phoning people so you can focus on your own priorities.
Good luck and stay safe out there!