by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yesterday, the 6th largest amount of snow in history fell into our area.   Given the sheer volume involved poses unique strains on the organization.  Do we have the personnel to clear the sidewalks and parking lots?  Are the streets safe enough for faculty, staff, and students to trek from their homes and start their regular routine, or should work be closed or delayed?  How do we communicate to everyone if the decision is made to close the school?

Yesterday, at 5:45, we received an e-mail from the President indicated work was delayed until 11:00 a.m.  Given that classes don't start until 8:00, it seemed like a reasonable timetable.  In addition, I did notice a few employees had posted a similar notice on Twitter shortly thereafter.  I still decided to make the trip onto campus, and found that 3 of my colleagues  did the same.  However, they were unaware of the change.  They did not check their e-mail in the morning (the horror!!!).

Later that afternoon, given worsening conditions, the decision was made to cancel the rest of the work day so that people could return home safely.  However, the communication method had changed.  The emergency notification system was activated and I received the message in a number of media - text, phone call, e-mail, message on the organization's web page, and on my Twitter feed.  Perhaps, a lesson was learned in the intervening hours about getting the message across.

How are you assuring your employees are getting the news of an impending change in the routine?

One comment

We recently went through this same discussion when a massive ice storm came through Indiana. We historically have use the local media (tv, radio) to communicate, however we have decided to start using sms services as supplement to these services. Pricing is decent, nearly all people have cell phones and sms isn't influenced by power outages. Great post. Thanks

by bjackson on March 25, 2011 at 7:39 AM. #

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