Whatever the weather…
Yesterday pretty much everything in the South-East came to a grinding halt because of the snow. According to London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, it was the "right kind of snow, it's just the wrong kind of quantities." Of course.
Living in Hove, I had no chance of getting into the office. All train services to London were suspended. Colleagues living in other parts of "the countryside" had the same problem. The Londoners were mostly able to battle into the office despite bus suspension and tube delays. One colleague even took the boat from Greenwich, which intriguingly she described as romantic…
Ironically though, the first item on my to-do list for Monday was "Finish drafting SHR Business Continuity Plan" to cover how we would keep the business going in case of disasters such as fire, flood, power failure, terrorist attacks and, of course, the wrong quantities of snow. Still they say it's important to test your plan regularly and review it accordingly.
I think what yesterday showed us was the importance of having a plan in place so that staff could be contacted quickly and easily. Managers need to hold staff contact details offsite and it is useful to agree beforehand who is responsible for contacting whom and reporting on their whereabouts. If you can find out quickly who will be in the office and who will be working from home or unavailable, it is easier to plan how to prioritise key business tasks.
Although snow might not seem like a disaster (particularly not to all the happy people out building snowmen yesterday), the Federation of Small Businesses estimated 20% of the UK's working population, or 6.4 million people did not make it to work yesterday at an estimated cost of £1.2bn to businesses. Clearly anything businesses can do to minimise losses, such as pre-agreeing plans for staff to work from home, is important.
So yesterday's snow came as a handy reminder of the disruption that even something relatively minor can cause. Ultimately you never know what might happen and organisations that have a business continuity capability are far more
likely to survive the effects of a major incident than those that