Snow disruption hits businesses further

Businesses already struggling with the credit crunch are set to lose millions of pounds in lost operations as snow falls deeper today and tomorrow.

The thick one-foot layer of snow that has caused widespread travel delays and cancellations will inevitably cause a huge knock-on effect for the thousands of businesses that rely on people to get into work and transport services to be functioning to deliver goods.

Major motorways were closed or in gridlock and train services and flights were heavily delayed or cancelled today, leaving thousands of commuters stuck trying to get to work.

However, a combination of technology and common sense on the part of employers and employees can minimise the impact for many, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Rebecca Clake, organisation and resourcing adviser at the CIPD, said: “This is the most wired ‘big freeze’ we’ve ever had.  With advances in technology, more and more people are able to work from home – at least to some degree. 

“Companies that have put in place the technology and management practices to allow their people to work flexibly in normal times can reap the rewards today, as thousands of people log on from their living rooms and bedrooms to keep the knowledge economy ticking over.”

Stephen Beynon, managing director of communications company ntl:Telewest Business, warned organisations to quickly put a business continuity plan in place as they will suffer less than those that do not have one.

“Today’s snow is the most heaviest and widespread than the South East has seen in 18 years, so it is an indisputable fact that there will be severe travel disruption and employees cannot make it in to the office. Businesses can prepare for this with a flexible working policy so that employees can still be productive and their continue work, wherever they are.”

He added organisations needed to have a continuity plan in place to ensure that operations did not hit a standstill when adverse weather conditions struck.

“The bottom line is this – all business face being affected by weather like this, so firms need to adequately prepare so that they can maintain a competitive advantage and avoid unnecessary downtime,” he said.

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