As I sit here writing this, I am very thankful to be huddled up inside my relatively warm office at home. I didn´t have to face a commute longer than the stairs in my house this morning. That´s the same commute I face every morning, but I am particularly thankful this morning because of the weather. The windchill is currently -43 here where I live in western Canada. It has been snowing off and on since last week. The roads are pretty awful. It´s just not a good time to be living here.
Besides feeling sorry for myself, and dreading the trip I have to make to run errands in a while, this weather has got me thinking. If you´re lucky, you´re not reading this somewhere where the weather is as lousy as it is here right now (I traded e-mails with a client in San Diego this morning who told me it was warm enough to head to the beach. I was not amused.). That being said, pretty much every climate has something that seems unbearable to someone else. I was in Montreal this summer when the Humidex was way, way over 100 degrees, and I would much rather face this weather than that. The threat of hurricanes and tropical storms completely turns me off of Florida and the Gulf Coast. The rain in Vancouver, Washington and Oregon never seems to end. Nobody has it perfect.
What does this have to do with productivity? A couple of things. First of all, we absolutely need to be aware of, and plan for, the impact of extreme weather on our lives. Here and now, for example, everything we do takes much longer. If my car will even start when I go out to try it in a few minutes it will have to warm up for a long time before I can head off. The roads will be slippery, so it will take me longer to get anywhere. Because it is so cold I will have to get all bundled up before I go, and I will have to get out of my warmest winter clothes when I get there. That takes more time. If you live here and you don´t add on substantial time in your planning to account for the weather then you are going to be constantly running well behind schedule all day. Obviously, that´s not productive. That doesn´t just apply here, either. The same can be said for rain or even wind, and intense heat creates its own problems.
The other productivity factor that needs to be considered is working with, and relying on, other people. Extreme weather will mean that some people won´t be able to, or even try to, get to where you need them to be. Whenever you meet with a group of people a chunk of time is going to be eaten up talking about the horrors of the weather. People may not be as focused as normal.
The weather isn´t going to change anytime soon, so we need to make sure that we are approaching our day with awareness of the impact of that weather if we want to be our most productive.