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SOURCE: Fast Company

DATE: November 14, 2017

SNIP: After Hurricane Irma hit Florida–and one of his Florida-based remote employees was forced to evacuate with his family–Anil Dash, CEO of the software company Fog Creek, called the employee and told him to do whatever he needed to do to be safe. Dash also realized that as climate change makes hurricanes and other disasters more destructive, it was a situation his employees would likely face again.

Fog Creek now offers “climate leave”: up to five days of leave for extreme weather each year, or longer in the case of an extended, officially declared state of emergency.

During Irma, Dash heard about people at other companies who were worried about evacuating because they didn’t want to lose their jobs. “For our team, hopefully that’s never a concern,” he says. “But then I said, you know, I don’t blame people for wondering, because if it’s not in writing, it can change at any time. You want to be able to trust as an employee.

The company is also trying to prepare for climate change in other ways, including researching renewable energy and looking at data center efficiency. Because employees telecommute (and those who live in New York City can take public transportation) in a typical week, no one commutes by car.

A remote workforce also makes the company more resilient: In the case of a wildfire or flood or other disasters in one location, employees elsewhere can still keep working.

Since Fog Creek announced the new program, Dash says that other companies have reached out to ask about creating something similar. He plans to watch what they do, and to also tweak Fog Creek’s program as it’s tested in future disasters.