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The UK Snow Effect: Tips for Business Continuity

As the short days get colder, one threat to UK businesses gets greater. One of few weather’s in the UK that can bring businesses, schools, roads and transport to a standstill. The white, snowflakes that bring joy to children’s faces and terror to business owners.

Within a few hours, the UK can come to a halt. The Guardian reported 2018’s ‘beast from the east’ and Storm Emma to have cost the UK economy £1bn a day due to travel cancellations, road crashes, workers warned to keep away from their offices and shoppers avoiding the highstreets. The construction industry alone predicted it would lose up to £2bn over the three worst days.

With the yearly average snowfall in Scotland being around 35 inches, London only gets around 18; however the impact to the capital appears to be far greater. Whole transport networks have shut down leaving a large proportion of the 513,000 workers employed within The City of London stranded and schools and offices unable to open or work only with skeleton staff – but could this all be avoided?

Work anywhere and anytime with technology & planning

Advancements in technology allowing office workers to work from home and pre-planned business continuity exercises and plans should allow for business as usual, whatever the weather. But we know this is not always the case.

Business continuity planning is designed to keep the business running. It irons out the issues and trains the users on how to react to a situation as pre-planning and discussion has already taken place. In events which are unplanned but pre-warned, for example; planned network outage/maintenance, extreme weather and rail strikes, a companies business continuity plan should be actioned and rolled out as a preventative measure to ensure limited disruption over the period. In the example of snow, office workers should be encouraged (where applicable) to pre-plan their days ahead and if needed, take laptops home so they can remotely work if the weather prevents their travel.

Our 3 tips for business continuity during snow

Testing your technology

By testing this scenario before an event, checks can be done to devices to ensure employees are capable of working remotely – i.e is there any additional software or permissions needed? Would the worker need to connect via a VPN and if so, do they know how to? This pre-planning can save valuable time (and free up IT resources in an event) to make a company resilient to any situation that may affect ‘business as usual’.

Carry out exercises

Make sure your employees are capable of working remotely and that timely communications are sent to all employees to keep them up to date on what is happening. Once they are working, do they have access to all businesses-critical files and/or applications. Are their systems working fast enough? Whilst everyone is working remotely, can they collaborate seamlessly with colleagues? It is important to get this right so that you continue to maintain high standards of customer service.

Prepare templates

Touching on point 2, a response to snow often requires communications to be sent out quickly. As well as agreeing a nominated person/team to manage this, we also recommend that templates for communications are created beforehand so that the communications team can respond to the snow quickly before some staff try to make their way in and to keep your remote staff informed at all times.

 

Our article was written by Emma Spenwyn, Security Consultant at 2|SEC Consulting. If you would like to speak to Emma about business continuity, please contact her at emma.spenwyn@2-sec.com or call our office on 020 7877 0060.