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The death of the snow day

All of us who live in climates with a winter season remember the snow day. It would start the evening before, with weather reports of an impending snow day teasing us with the potential promise of a day off from work, school or obligations. Would we have school? Would we have work? Could we sleep in? Go sledding? How much snow would we get? Like Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” all of us nestled snug in our beds, with visions of not sugar-plums, but instead sleeping, sledding or spending a day in our PJ’s dancing in our heads. We hoped to awake to the silence only brought on by a thick blanket of snow outside, and not to the rumblings of buses and cars and merely slushy roads.

We now find ourselves able to work remotely in many fields and from almost anywhere without regard to the weather. Children attend school remotely and even if they have a hybrid school model, a snow day becomes merely a remote day. Like the post office, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays” us from completion in our appointed-remote offices.

The excitement, joy and relief provided by a gift from Mother Nature is presented to us less and less, and I fear may truly become a thing of the past. We’re so connected that we no longer get a chance to disconnect and literally lay, play or revel in the wonder of what happens when molecules of water fall from the sky at a temperate of 32 degrees or less.

What to do in this technologically overcharged, over connected world as an employer? Understand the physical, emotional and psychological needs people have in the form of a gift of downtime. As I mentioned in previous blogs, we implemented a monthly paid ½ day off for staff of their choice- no reasons needed-just put on the calendar. This isn’t practical for all businesses but finding some way to give a mental and physical break, hopefully, unexpectedly, and especially during this pandemic, is a gift and a small thank you to your team.

A snow day is magical for old and young so don’t give up on trying to capture and share the magic. If your company has the ability to close even an hour or so early, before sunset, let your staff off early to play outside with their kids, family or enjoy the time themselves. Keep the magic alive.

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