Business Continuity | What to do when a situation erupts

Hi all

What a week! First there was swine flu, then there was the snow and now it seems a big old thing called Mount Eyjafjallajökull (no, I’m not sure how to pronounce it either) is disrupting our daily routines. Ok, so most of us can get into the office this time but it just serves as another reminder of how easy it is for business to get disrupted when something unexpected affects normal working routines. Although the news has focused on holidaymakers stranded abroad, it’s not just tourists who are being affected; an awful lot of business travellers are finding themselves stranded a long way from their offices too.

Businesses that have continuity plans in place are using newer technologies such as voice or video conferencing tools to facilitate meetings outside of the UK, and keep communications going with employees who have found themselves unable to catch a flight back to the UK.   Although, it does raise two questions. Shouldn’t we all have such business continuity plans in place? And, if we were using these technologies in the first place, perhaps we’d have less UK business travellers stranded aboard?

You could argue that, as finances have been tight, some have seen investment in technology, such a video communications, as something of a gamble; a frivolous “nice to have”, the prerogative of the large corporation, rather than a small business essential.

However, as these technologies are becoming increasingly more affordable and, as the events of the last week have shown, it’s not a case of can you afford to invest in video technology, it’s actually a case of can you afford not to? After all, it doesn’t have to be a volcanic eruption that can throw your businesses norms out of sync, it can be something much less dramatic:  flooding, rail strikes, a power outage… you get my point.

So, although likelihood of disruption due to an active volcano may be highly unusual (especially in the UK) it does illustrate just how important a continuity plan. In reality you’re much more likely to be caught out by more mundane malfunctions.  Most importantly however is that it’s not just in times of trouble; businesses can reap the benefits collaboration technologies year round. Spend on travel is reduced when teams meet virtually, carbon emissions are reduced, and less time is wasted ‘on the road’.

As ever, your thoughts are welcomed.

All the best,
Gordon

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