As I start this entry, I’m wrapping up a day where the Feds here in D.C. have the opportunity to go home 2 hours early and local schools were closed because of snow. Plus, with more snow in the forecast for tomorrow, Metro DC is poised to double the amount of snowfall this season in one day. Good thing Doug Hill is not forecasting for over a foot of snow.
Last year we had nearly an entire week of office closures for the federal government, and I would expect this year to be the same at some point soon. Thanks to the recent passing of teleworking legislature, many federal employees won’t have to brave unsafe conditions that they might have during last year’s winter storms.
Some might suggest that we’ve become weather wimps out here in D.C. But why take the risk of a long and potentially dangerous commute if we know we can still get our work done remotely? Wimps or not, the first full day of closure for federal employees can’t be that far away.
The government offices in D.C. and the northeast aren’t the only areas that need to worry about the possibility of wide-ranging closures. Anyone who lived through Deep Freeze 2011 in Atlanta understands that the state and local governments were unprepared for a quick turnaround during unexpected bad weather. Even if places like Atlanta did invest in snow plows and other equipment to prepare for round 2 of a deep freeze, there’s always something new around the corner.
A prime example – if you’ve read about the possible “California Mega storm” that geologists predict could be upon us within the next few decades, you’ll realize we can never truly be prepared for everything that nature has to offer.
Granted, massive floods in California might cause enough damage that teleworking would only alleviate a small amount of the potential problems faced. But, in the days after a crisis like that, essential government services will need to continue working one way or another, and the ability to work remotely will be crucial.
The bottom line is that the more services we can provide remotely in challenging weather conditions, the better off our government will be. In order to do this, we need to have teleworking technology and policies in place now so that we are fully prepared for the next big storm.
So, let’s make some predictions! When do you expect the first federal snow day will be? I’ll go with Thursday, January 27th. What’s your perdiction?