Climate change has vastly affected the way our world works. Because of climate change, we have seen a rapid rise in the number of severe weather events. Extreme weather events are natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, flash floods, and tornadoes. In the last five years, natural disasters have cost the country over $120 billion every year.
Employee productivity is a pressing issue during these events. In fact, research has come out saying that by 2030, severe weather event-related lost productivity would cost the economy over $2 trillion. This can lead to a severe economic downturn that will affect thousands. Employers need to put more effort into making employees comfortable during these events to shore up losses in productivity. So what should employers be doing?
Invest in Better Early Warning Systems
One of the most important things employers can do to prevent stress is to provide support systems for employees and their families. Investing in early warning systems and using a weather forecast that updates daily can go a long way to help protect your employees. Daily updates can help your employees get to work on time and allow the administration to take steps for safe passage home as well.
Weather monitoring can also help employers increase employee productivity. Research has shown that employee productivity dips during good weather and increases during lousy weather. Employers can take advantage of this and schedule more or less work depending on the weather, reducing pressure on employees at times when they don’t want to work.
Follow Guidelines About Preventing Cold Stress
OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines for people to follow when working in dangerous weather. As an employer, you should run awareness campaigns about all the OSHA guidelines and make rules about their implementation. OSHA guidelines state that when working in cold weather, employees should take several breaks to regulate body temperature.
They should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and avoid smoking. Employees should be required to wear protective clothing, including gloves and insulated boots, whenever possible. If gloves have to be taken off, cold weather exposure should be limited to short periods of time. Employees should wear at least three layers of clothing, and they should also stretch before indulging in any strenuous physical activity.
One of the inevitable impacts of severe weather events is property and medical damage. People get injured in the rain and snow and can suffer from strokes in the heat. Storms and floods can damage houses and cars. For many employees, this loss can be irreparable. They can become stressed during weather events in anticipation of the damage control they have to do.
One of the best ways to provide support to employees is to get them insurance for their health and their houses. Health insurance for your employees and their immediate family takes a big burden off their shoulders. They can rest easy with the assurance that they have a way to pay the bills if the unthinkable happens and someone they love lands up in the hospital.
One of the biggest fears people have during significant weather events is not knowing what to do. Not knowing what to do can also lead to insecurity and anxiety, both of which could lead to long-term issues among employees. To prevent this from happening, employers should invest in having plans about what to do during severe weather events. Hire consultants to help you create a plan of action for natural disasters as well as security breaches.
Make sure your plans include several scenarios and the most likely weather events for your area. Make your employees aware of these plans and make sure they know what to do in case disaster strikes. You should also run practice drills that will test employee preparedness and revise the plan of action within your company frequently. You could also beef up security to prevent break-ins or intruders if the office is in an area with high crime rates.
Employees often feel neglected by their companies. When you take these steps, make sure your employees know everything you are doing to ensure their safety and security. Along with these, you should put in structural changes that reduce stress in the office, like workplace culture assessments and modifications. Working at your company should be something your employees look forward to and be proud of. In turn, you will also be rewarded with employee loyalty, lower attrition rates, and higher productivity.