Every year we are confronted by news reports of severe disruption caused by the weather. Flooding, snow and fog all lead to serious problems for UK businesses, from staff stranded due to grounded flights and cancelled trains, to water damage to infrastructure and premises. Indeed one week of bad weather in early 2013 was estimated to have cost the UK over £318 million in lost productivity.
But businesses aren’t just affected by snow.
Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that when temperatures fall by just one degree Celsius below average, it costs the UK economy £2.5 billion.
Many small and medium businesses don’t have the disaster recovery systems and flexibility to ensure that their business remains productive in the event of severe weather, the technology is now available to help businesses to function no matter what the weather;
Make telecoms hosted virtually and not fixed to BT's copper wires
VoIP is now a reliable and efficient way to keep in contact with both clients and employees.
Using a number in the cloud instead of on the BT Exchange allows anyone to pick up a call from any location with an internet connection, including on a 4G mobile device.
By installing a simple app on a mobile device, calls to a desktop phone can seamlessly be connected to the next available person’s phone, mobile, tablet or laptop.
Employees can take the call and work as normal, wherever they are.
Face-to-face meetings don’t need to be cancelled either. Just use a hosted video conferencing platform.
With the modernisation of the global telephone and data networks, video conferencing has started to filter down to small to medium-sized businesses whereas, in the past, it has only been accessible to 'big business'.
More and more applications are moving from on premises and into the cloud, so it’s becoming
essential you can connect your business and workforce reliably and at high speeds.
Superfast broadband provides you with an efficient connection which can enhance productivity and cost savings through improved online sales and marketing, seamless ordering and invoicing, enhanced video conferencing and the ability to react quickly.
But this Superfast connectivity doesn't have to stop in the office, homes are now being connected to faster than ever seen broadbands, 4G and the potential 5G will make getting online anywhere much simpler and easier to do.
Storage in the cloud
The cloud is a hugely powerful tool for businesses.
Many apps and programs such as Office 365 and online file sync and share are already remote, meaning emails, data and work-related software is all safely stored off-site.
You don’t need to worry about providing secure remote access to your own servers – employees just use their own connections to access the cloud in the usual way, where they can access their software and documents, and work as usual.
When the snow causes the roof to leak, or a frozen pipe to burst and take out your server in the office, you don’t lose anything – it’s all automatically backed up on the cloud. In fact, you don’t even have a server.
Protection from power outages
If predictions are true we’re told the weather will continue to get more extreme and growing demand for electricity from dwindling numbers of power stations means there’s a growing risk of blackouts.
Power lines taken out by trees in high winds and sub-zero conditions could cause a problem for keeping businesses open for the day.
You may have access to backup generators and additional power supplies. But access to cloud-based technologies means that any blackouts to your business don’t mean work stops for the day.
Using 4G or Wi-Fi on your mobiles, tablets and laptops means you can continue to access your emails, your cloud-based software and all your documents.
Make a snow day a work day
It’s difficult to know exactly how much severe weather in winter costs the UK economy and what the future holds. Losing days to snow, cold weather, winds, bad driving conditions or any unforeseen event that closes the office, certainly has a big impact on the bottom line for any small and medium businesses.
But modern, reliable technology and the right knowledge about telecoms means snow days don’t need to be a day off.
Whilst employees might have a slight change of scenery – whether it be stuck on the M6, using Wi-Fi in their local coffee shop, or sat in their home office – by ensuring your business is on line and `in the cloud` means you stay productive when your competitors don’t.