Businesses unprepared as Britain is hit by widespread snow

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Snow has hit much of the UK with widespread train cancellations and road and airport closures causing headaches for many commuters and holidaymakers.

Businesses are reporting that four times as many staff as usual failed to make it in to the office yesterday and forecasters have warned that the snow and icy temperatures will not improve just yet, with more snow expected over the weekend.

We saw similar conditions earlier this year and again businesses were disrupted up and down the country, but are we any more prepared?

In March 2010, the Chartered Management Institute published their Business Continuity Management Survey, having polled over 900 of its members. The survey found that the most common disruption to organisations in the last year was extreme weather with 93 percent being affected by snowfall. Worryingly, over half (51 percent) of medium sized businesses did not have a business continuity plan in place, rising to 71 percent for small businesses.

With the rest of winter to come, businesses need to ensure they can remain productive even in times of severe weather and travel disruption.

“The current heavy snowfall across the UK has demonstrated again how quickly and how severely businesses can be disrupted by adverse weather conditions,” said James Campanini, Managing Director, Cisco WebEx, EMEA.

Earlier this year, the Federation of Small Businesses estimated that the snow and associated disruption cost the economy in excess of £600 million a day.

With the recent series of tube strikes on top of the current bad weather, perhaps businesses might reassess their business continuity plans.

“The world is becoming better connected every day and there are now a whole host of online tools available to businesses of all sizes to ensure that if employees can’t make it into work, productivity levels do not drop. If companies take appropriate measures, such as using high quality online collaboration tools, it can be a case of business as usual,” said Campanini.

HRreview would like to hear your thoughts about weather disruption. How empty your office is and what ways you get around trouble caused by adverse conditions? Do you have a great remote set-up that laughs in the face of the need to commute through snowy climes?



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  1. My company (Plantronics – Telecommunications industry) laughs in the face of adverse conditions such as snow. As HR Director of EMEA we ensure all our employees benefit from Smarter Working (above and beyond flexible working) and the use of Unified Communications (UC). Each employee has the tools and ability to work from any place, any time, without disruption to the business. Snow, what snow?

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