Londoners face the prospect of travel chaos on the Tubes after members of the RMT and TSSA announced a series of weekly walkouts, with the first strike scheduled to be on 6 September.
With the London Chamber of Commerce predicting this could cost the city up to £48m* a day, it seems many businesses are not prepared to deal with the disruption this will cause. The provision of alternative ways of allowing staff to work remotely when they are unable to travel to the office is critical to reducing the potential loss in productivity threatened by the strike.
A recent survey showed that 67% of businesses already had, or were considering putting into place, remote working facilities, such as access to the corporate network and email system. This suggests that although many companies can cope with disruption to travel there is still a significant proportion of UK businesses who remain operationally exposed to such strike action.
I urge companies to investigate what preparations they can make, including Internet access and communications, both of which are critical to workers whether they’re in the office or working from home.
It’s good news that SMEs have been preparing for greater flexibility but they also need to take a broader view about communicating with colleagues, customers and prospects.
Remote working isn’t just about having access to email and the internet. We still rely on communicating by telephone and there is a very real benefit in having a mobile workforce. Additionally businesses may also want to consider mobility tools such as call-forwarding from landline to mobiles. This means that any calls ‘follow you’ and you can be available anytime, from anywhere be it the office, home or on the move.