What Do You Do When the Weather’s Bad?

This has been one of the strangest winters in recent memory here in St. Louis, and in many other areas of the country.  It was in the 70s here yesterday, making it a shorts and T-shirts, top-down, bar-b-cue kind of day.  Today, we’re  under a winter weather advisory with predictions of as much as 8-9" of ice and snow.

It’s not easy to plan when things are so wildly variable, but this isn’t the first time we’ve had this type of extremes in a short period of time.  A few weeks ago it was top-down weather coming in to the office and at quitting time there was ice on the windows.  Naturally, this kind of weather plays havoc with retail sales.

The science of weather prediction is far from perfect, which makes planning even that more difficult.  [In the interest of full disclosure, my number three son is a meteorologist.  He’s the first to admit that predicting the weather in the middle of the United States is a nightmare.  I guess that’s why he moved to Alabama.]  So, how do you plan your staffing?

What do you do to make sure you have enough people to take care of the customers, without paying them to stand around talking to each other?  Do you cut back, hoping the forecast of bad weather is correct?  Or do you staff normally, with plenty of non-selling tasks lined up to keep them busy if the weather does turn bad?  Do you send people home one at a time as the weather deteriorates?

We’d like to hear how you handle this situation.  Comment below.

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