In 2010, there were a number of rail strikes, for example on the London Underground and in Scotland, creating major, if localised, difficulties for staff trying to get to work. In the air too, industrial action by BA staff caused problems for business people travelling to business meetings in other parts of the globe, in addition to natural disasters such as the volcanic ash cloud.

In each case, businesses struggled to maintain ‘business as usual’ in the face of such transport disruption. Yet employers may have to prepare themselves for even greater disruption in the coming months, if the recent threats of industrial action in response to the government’s current austerity measures become a reality.

The impact of staff being unable to travel into the office has a particularly damaging effect on small and medium-sized businesses that suddenly find themselves without a fully functional workforce. Since these events can often be unpredictable, it’s essential to have continuity plans already in place that enable them to function effectively with limited impact to the day-to-day running of the business.

A key aspect of any such contingency plan is to ensure that employees can be productive working from home or other locations. With SaaS-based remote access and collaboration technologies, that are simple to use and affordable, businesses can be prepared for any disruption at any time.

Staff can easily and securely access their desktops and work with colleagues and clients in real time as if they are at the office, through easy secure online meetings.

Forewarned may be forearmed, as they say. Yet to be truly forearmed is to have in place such effective counter-measures which can kick in as and when circumstances demand, enabling staff to carry out their roles, irrespective of location.