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Helping families of employees make it through the winter

  • SIMA
- Posted: October 26, 2015

By Brian Birch
It’s clear that snow management services take a toll on you and your employees. Keeping your employees and laborers healthy during the season is essential, and a key component of that health is their mental well-being and stress levels. And if things are blowing up at home because they are gone for 3 days straight, it’s going to have an impact.

So how do you as an employer help your employees deal with the inevitable challenges that result from long and crazy hours in winter? Here are a few tips and thoughts:


  • Pre-screen if possible in the hiring process, make it very clear related to the challenges, length of time commitments during storms and potential for missed holidays.
  • Communicate proactively with employees to set expectations with their families.
  • Address with employees up front which holidays and events are most critical to them, and try and work with them as much as possible while maintaining fairness for the full staff.
  • Coach employees on how to discuss long hours/odd hours with their families.
  • Provide materials for employees to take home to explain the long hours and challenges they may endure.

During the season

  • Be flexible and fair in allowing for time off for emergencies.
  • Rotate ‘on-call’ schedules every week if possible.
  • Help employee families provide ‘protected’ sleep, and stress the importance and safety risks if they don’t get such sleep. For longer storms, consider renting hotel rooms where employees can get needed sleep.
  • Provide simple gifts or thank you notes to families during the season.
  • Provide cash bonuses after major events. This may not alleviate stress immediately, but it shows a tangible result from the sacrifices made.


  • Organize a post-season thank you dinner or celebration for staff and their families.
  • Provide end-of-season bonuses or gifts to families (gift certificates, etc.)

You as the employer can’t eliminate the stress and challenges from the home front, but you can help create some tools and support that can make the difference.

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