New York City, often hailed as 'The city that never sleeps' has been covered by a white blanket and taken the chance for a short snooze, having been hit by what has been predicted as one of the worst winter storms in its history.
A blizzard, named Juno, hit the northeastern states yesterday (Monday 26 January) and is expected to continue until the middle of this week, has meant business in many major cities, specifically Boston and New York, have had to slow down.
So far, 7,500 flights have been cancelled. New York City rail systems were stopped completely last night. Train services have resumed, but are expected to run on a less frequent Sunday schedule.
However, the ease and portability of technology has allowed companies to keep employees unharmed, and continue operations.
Here’s a look at what some companies in the north east have said about their approaches to what is being christened on Twitter as #Blizzard2015.
Digennaro Communications emptied out in anticipation of Juno
Snow day alert: our office will be closed tomorrow. Stay safe and warm out there!
— BBH New York (@BBHNewYork) January 26, 2015
Most offices, including advertising agency BBH New York, were forced to close including major media companies such as Buzzfeed who told The Drum that it would be "business as usual" as editorial staff worked from home.
John Osborn, president and chief executive of BBDO New York explained that the welfare and safety of staff came first when it came to making such a major decision to close an office.
“We have multiple layers of contingency plans, including an emergency communications plan for storms and disasters. Communication is in our DNA, so our ability to communicate with each other and our clients is of utmost importance. We use technology to our advantage. The impact is minimal. We were built for a good storm," he added.
“While the work at home strategy was an option for [yesterday], the NYC office has been officially closed [today], with a general instruction for employees to check in with managers on specifics, but to plan on working from home," explained David Shay, senior vice president of marketing for CPXi. "The Monday leadership meeting was conducted [yesterday], as it always is, over Skype so that those not present in the NYC HQ office could ‘attend’ and interact. Today, however, rather than just those in other offices logging on thru Skype, NYC employees were able to take advantage of the use of technology to ‘attend’ without skipping a beat.”
Meanwhile Tom O'Regan, chief executive of Madison Logic added it is was its policy to create a location free environment during such emergencies. “Today we sent home several employees starting at 1:30 to get them home safely and everyone has access so they can continue to support the business and their families. Communication is key to how we "weather" these storms," O'Regan continued.
Huge New York's managing director, Eric Moore told The Drum that such severe weather was no longer a problem for businesses in the city; "In Brooklyn, we've become pretty good at working around Mother Nature. Knowing that the storm was coming, we began to make adjustments this weekend before it hit. We have a number of pitches this week, and for those scheduled in areas outside of the Northeastern U.S., we moved travel plans up so people were able to get out of town before things got bad. We're also planning to close our Brooklyn office on Tuesday and have asked that employees work remotely from home, to ensure everyone's safety. Personally, this is my favorite time in NYC; there is nothing quite like a thick blanket of fresh snow to cover the city that never sleeps."
Image from Felipe Sarmiento, Interaction Designer, Brooklyn at Huge
Many companies have taken a more humorous approach to discussing the big storm, such as Acronym's chief operating officer, Michael Bruh, who described the storm as “a non-event "
He continued: "We got maybe six inches where I live in Manhattan. Because we have clients globally, our people will either come to the office or, if they’re on Long Island and New Jersey where the snowfall was heavier, work from home. Hopefully their kids will grab a sled and find a hill.”
Mother New York's office was empty by 6 pm Monday
Steve Ellwanger, a communications consultant from Conneticut was also defiant; “My company is open. Storm is not a big deal for (real) New Englanders, just TV weather folks. My dog needs a walk but isn't going to get it anytime soon.”
Jessie McGuire, strategy director for design consultancy, Elmwood claimed that the storm has brought out the staff's creative side: "Everyone at Elmwood New York is pumped for the blizzard. [There's] a snowman that Elmwood made a few years ago that we’ve challenged ourselves to beat on Wednesday when we are back in the office."
And finally, Mother sent out a photo of its empty office in Hell's Kitchen, alongside the message: "Given we’re half Swedish, this is not really a snow day for us. More like early signs of spring--and for the half that’s not Swedish we have cross country ski lessons today."
As expected, New York business has not closed, or even paused to take breath. It's chosen to have fun and keep working with the heating turned up an extra few notches while the snow continues to fall heavily outside.