Loss of Snow Days Creates Next-Generation of Remote Workers

By Shannon Belew
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The idea that snow or extreme weather conditions no longer means getting a day off from school may become a chilling reality for school-aged kids. Businesses everywhere should applaud the idea – and start looking forward to an up-and-coming generation of savvy, well-trained remote workers.

The recent blast of arctic air across much of the U.S. has delivered more than record-setting cold temperatures and snowfalls. The unusually early winter conditions have also ushered in a possible end to Snow Days – or, at the vey least is redefining what they mean. Thanks to technology, and some forward-thinking administrators of a private school in Minnesota, kids can now work from home on snow days. That may not seem like a big deal to anyone other than kids and teachers, but I contend that businesses should also pay attention. Why? If this decision spreads to school districts across the country, it means a new generation of self-sufficient, flexible workers is on the horizon. And that’s good for business!

The Students at Minnesota-based St. Cloud Cathedral high school were already using laptops and iPads as part of their normal school routine. Somewhere along the way, administrators smartly recognized that having access to mobile devices meant there were more options for how and where their students learned, including off-campus. Working remotely makes a lot of sense when you consider that
bad weather can take students out of school for several days, or even an entire week at a time. As principal Lynn Grewing explained to Weather.com, allowing students to work from home on a snow day, instead of canceling school, means “there won’t be any productivity lost.”

Lost productivity? Yes, that’s the same issue businesses struggle with when weather events keep employees at home. Unfortunately, there are still far too many organizations that lack a clear plan for enabling and managing remote workers, so that lost productivity can quickly add up to lost revenue for a business. That’s why it’s exciting to think that schools could begin grooming a generation of future workers, managers and leaders who understand the value of flexible working options and who are accustomed to using technology to work more efficiently.

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About the Author

Shannon Belew

Shannon Belew has worked with SMBs for more than 20 years and specializes in B2B digital marketing. Shannon leads the online marketing strategy for Digium and regularly writes about business and technology trends. She is the author of "Starting an Online Business For Dummies, All-in-One" (4th ed) and "The Art of Social Selling." Follow her on Twitter @ShannonBelew for the latest tech trends and business news on topics ranging from content marketing and social media to mobility and Cloud.

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