According to business lobbies, the London tube strikes that have been going on since September may have already cost London businesses about £200m. Affecting around three million passengers, tube stoppages have been costing the capital up to £50m a day, according to Reuters.
And until the issue is resolved – despite the recent announcement that another strike might not happen before Christmas – there remains a chance this could continue to affect businesses as we head towards the festive season.
Over the past 12 months we have seen more businesses equip staff with flexible working technology such as unified communications, laptops, mobile phones and headsets.
These have enabled people to work remotely, minimising the impact such events as tube strikes have had on profits.
In addition, we have also noticed that businesses are supporting a variety of working environments, equipping mission-critical staff with technology that allows them to work from home.
Communication with colleagues and customers is crucial to the success of any business. And as we saw during the tube strikes, many were hamstrung because they could not support flexible working.
Transport strikes are not new, and as such, businesses should have put measures in place by now to enable them to overcome them. At Plantronics, 95 per cent of our staff are equipped with flexible working technology, which means that our employees are able to work just as effectively whether in the office, on the road or at home.
However, there are still many companies that have not done this. It is frustrating when you consider the amount of money invested in ensuring IT uptime, only for staff to be on forced downtime because they cannot reach the office.
Paul Clark is director for the UK and Ireland at Plantronics
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