According to figures just released by the ONS, there were 800,000 working days lost to strike action last year, nearly double the total for 2013. Although this figure is still way below the 1979 peak of 30m working days lost.
We have already seen one major strike on the London Underground, with all services shut down on 8 and 9 July when 30,000 Tube workers walked out over a dispute about the introduction of night trains. Another strike has been announced for 5 August and talks are still ongoing between both sides in the dispute.
With the promise of more strikes to come and conflict between the rail unions and the government likely to continue for considerable period over a number of issues, the Business Continuity Institute has offered some advice for businesses affected by severe transport disruption.
Amongst the advice they suggest is:
- For office based staff ask, do they really need to be there? For many people work is an activity, not a location. With the right equipment, those activities can be carried out anywhere.
- Can your staff work from home or another office with access to files and applications from a laptop and their landline diverted to a mobile phone. Technology exists today that makes mobile working easy.
- If you spend large chunks of your time travelling to meetings, consider whether you actually need to attend in person, or could do it by video-conferencing or over the telephone.
- Think about arranging working patterns so that only staff who live closer to work need to come in or make working hours more flexible so that they are not travelling during rush hour.
- If staff numbers are limited, prioritise the activities that are required to be carried out, and then prioritise the staff that are required to complete these activities.
Even 800,000 working days lost is a huge amount for business and the knock-on effects can multiple the impact. If you fail to provide the service that you have promised to your clients and they suffer a loss of sales as a result then they may well seek cash compensation from you. Strike action is unlikely to be covered under your business insurance policy, leaving you out of pocket.
Communicating to your staff when transport disruption (union inspired or otherwise) strikes is vital, to make sure that they are aware of whether the office is open or closed and so that you can keep track of where they are and what they are doing.
Until now there has been no easy way of doing this away from the office, but now the Crises Control cloud hosted mobile communications app can help you. The app can send out a message to all of your staff with the push of a few buttons, monitor their response to the message and even track where they are located using GPS. Then, if the situations changes, you can redirect them again at the push if a button. If you are interested in finding out more about the app could help you during a strike day then request a demo and we can show you.