The End of Snow Days as We Know Them

December 19, 2008 at 11:37 am | Posted in collaboration, communication, Content Management, Information Work, Mobile and pervasive computing | 1 Comment

No, I’m not talking about the impact of global warming.  The snow pounding the Midwest and West (snow in Las Vegas?!) makes clear we’re not done with snowstorms quite yet, as you can see from this pic I took during a stroll to the mailbox this morning.

Winter Dec 08 stuck

What I’m thinking about is the impact of web-based communication and collaboration technologies.  For office workers in cold climates everywhere, a dirty secret is that adults are often keeping their fingers crossed for snow days just as much as their kids are.  When I was a programmer in a large financial services firm, I remember listening carefully to the radio after a big snowfall to see if my building was one of those announced as closed.  But many digital nomads today can take an occasional work at home day without their laptop because files are stored online and the workers have basic productivity tools at home. 

If you can work at home, how can you have a snow day? 

Meetings may already have conference call-in numbers because one of the participants was working at home, so they can go on as planned with everyone calling in.  It is now rare that an organization doesn’t offer web access to their e-mail and calendar.  With the increasing affordability and necessity of having a computer, you’d look like a Luddite if you proclaim you can’t work at home because you don’t own a computer with basic word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software at home. 

For example, when it snowed about 8 inches in one day in Chicago last year, my wife stayed home, made hot cocoa, and we sat by the fire.  Since then her workplace has put all their documents on to a server with web-based access.  If she has to stay home this winter, she’ll be sipping her hot cocoa in front of a nice warm monitor instead.

So enjoy what may be your last winter snow days.  By next year, your work at home dream may become your snow day nightmare.


1 Comment »

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  1. Thanks a lot for that article post.Really thank you! Great.

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