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snowstormDon’t use winter weather as an excuse for poor performance (or worse, no performance!) – say Brian Bedford and Julie Miller.

But rather than using weather as an excuse to slack off, they suggest using it as an opportunity to set yourself up for success.

“Traffic may come to a stop when it snows, but business doesn’t,” says Bedford, co-author along with Julie Miller of Culture Without Accountability—WTF? What’s the Fix? (Criffel Publishing, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-989-84692-9, $13.99, http://www.millerbedford.com). “It’s an accepted fact that most people can work from home these days. Out of sight doesn’t mean out of commission…or out of mind.”

Show that you’re accountable for your commitments come hell or high water (or snow and ice) and you’ll demonstrate that you can be counted on. Miller and Bedford offer a few tips on how to differentiate yourself from the pack when bad weather strikes.

Plan for a “hybrid” day. Let’s address the big white snowy elephant in the room first: When you’re snowed in at home, you likely won’t keep your nose to the grindstone the entire day. There might be power outages. There might be kids demanding your attention. There might be impromptu neighborhood sled parties. That’s okay. Work intensively when you can—and on the high-payoff projects—and your “snow breaks” won’t be a big deal.

“Accountable people know they control their own destiny,” says Bedford. “They’re not clock punchers. They know as long as the work gets done it doesn’t matter when or how they do it. They seize opportunities to work…and opportunities to play.”

Think ahead before the snow starts. When bad weather is on its way, plan ahead for what you’ll do if you can’t get in to the office. Make sure your boss and co-workers know how they’ll be able to reach you and make sure you have their winter weather contact info too.

“Take home any files or other information you might need,” suggests Miller. “Tie up any loose ends that will be difficult for you to take care of while working from home and reschedule any conference calls or meetings. Most bosses will understand that a snow day isn’t going to run like a normal day. What’s important is that you show that you’re doing everything in your power to keep important projects moving forward as efficiently as possible.”

Work late the night before. If you know it’s going to be difficult to get as much work done at home as you’d like to—you might be juggling child care duties alongside work duties, or there might be certain things you just can’t do from home—take care of any high-priority tasks the night before the snow rolls in. “Move some of the next day’s must-dos to today,” advises Bedford.

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