What Do You Do on a Snow Day?

The Northeast is in the midst of the Blizzard of 2015. Right now, I’m sitting snug in my home office, waiting for the blizzard to be over. I still have power and heat, which is great! I was wondering—what do you do on a snow day?

If you’re agile and you are accustomed to having collocated teams, do you even try to collaborate at a distance? I collaborate with all my coauthors via IM and Google docs.

It’s not the same as being together. However, it’s worth the aggravation because we don’t have to be together. I collaborate with people in Toronto, Chicago, New Zealand, and other places. I’m based in Boston. With IM and Google docs, we can collaborate any time we are both awake.

Today, I’ll be delivering a web seminar. (The topic is helping agile geographically distributed teams.) Even if I lost power, I could still do that, because I printed all my materials and my cellphone works.

We all know that weather happens. In the winter, it’s snow and ice. In the summer, it’s heat. Extreme weather of any kind can create power outages.

You might take the day off, especially if you have children. Sometimes, it’s not worth the aggravation of trying to work and be present for your family. In my experience, something wins, either work or family.

But what if you do want to and can work? What do you do?

  1. You can choose to work on tasks that don’t require collaboration. I suspect that you have a ton of email. You can delete or file it, or answer it. That allows you to clear your inbox and feel better about work when you return.
  2. You can assess where you are on projects and features or tasks. Are you making the progress you wanted to make? If not, maybe you can do some problem solving and see what you can do when you can return to the office.
  3. Review the improvements you and your team have wanted to make. Are you making those improvements? If not, why? Maybe you can consider alternative ideas.

These ideas don’t require anyone else. They do require reflection. I suspect you don’t have much time for reflection at work.

A snow day is great for baking cookies, playing in the snow, and cleanup and reflection work. If you can’t work on your features or tasks, consider reflection and prepare for when you can return to work.

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