Canadian winters are notoriously cold. Our penchant for frozen lakes, snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures often defines life in Canada and is also part of the reason that we do so well at the Winter Olympics. However, not all Canadians are born with a natural immunity to the cold. It takes a certain type of person to enjoy hours outside in below freezing weather and if you were to poll workers from Canada and pretty much anywhere in the world, it's unlikely that the majority would choose winter as their favorite season.
Yet a proportion of the population is in their element when the mercury dips. These cold warriors enjoy working outside during the winter and then spending their free time skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or ice fishing. They prefer hot chocolate to iced tea, don't gripe about wearing two pairs of socks and believe you're more connected to nature when you can see your own breath. They're also the perfect type of personality for cold-weather work. But what puts the antifreeze in the veins of these frozen fanatics?
When employees are required to perform their job in sub-zero temperatures it can have an effect on their performance. Exposure to cold temperatures can lead to discomfort, increased strain, decreased performance, cold-related illnesses, even depression in extreme cases. Cold can also modify or aggravate the risk of common hazards and increase the risk of cold-associated injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite. That is why it is so imperative to place the right type of people in these cold jobs. Many of the above elements that can impact cold-weather workers just don't bother a certain group of people.
Who Are They?
For the most part, those who feel comfortable in the cold take full advantage of their ice powers. When filling positions for cold-weather jobs, look for prospective employees with hobbies and interests that show a willingness to subject themselves to cold temperatures. People who love to snowboard, play hockey, go camping in February, bike to work 12 months a year and barbecue year round are ideal!
All kidding aside, these cold-lovers not only show a willingness to brave freezing temperatures, they also know how to properly prepare for them. As anyone who has ever been outside during -30 temperatures can attest, preparation is paramount. Prospective employees who enjoy winter know the importance of dressing in layers, keeping extremities warm and dry, covering exposed skin in extreme cold and staying hydrated. This sort of preparation allows them to feel much more relaxed in the cold where an unprepared worker would be uncomfortable, frustrated, rushed and less productive.
Where Can You Find Them?
Believe it or not, these types of employees are not as elusive as the Sasquatch. Research has shown that people who grow up in a cold environment are much more likely to be comfortable in sub-zero temperatures. Having grown up around it, they are more accustomed to the feeling and are well versed in the importance of preparation. If your cold weather job posting comes down to someone who grew up in Alabama and someone who grew up in Minnesota, go with the experience.
Those who are comfortable in the cold don't view it as a negative; they actually enjoy the cold temperatures. They like the cold air in their lungs, the memories associated with snow-filled winters and how being cold reminds them that they're alive. Canada is full of these people, and so are some parts of the United States. When filling cold-weather positions it's vital that you build a team of skilled workers that prefer making snow angels to lying on a sandy beach.