With the freezing February weather holding the country in its icy grip, estimates of how much the snow and ice has cost British businesses runs into billions.
However a leading business consultant says firms that have enabled their staff to work flexibly rather than having to come into the office will not only survive this weather crisis but also more likely to survive the recession.
Peter Thomson, founder of the Future Work Forum and Director of Wisework is calling on firms not to abandon smarter working practices as the recession deepens. He says too many businesses see flexible, mobile working as simply an employee benefit and an easy target when reviewing business overheads.
In recent years many companies have adopted flexible working practices allowing staff to work when and where they can rather than insist they are chained to the office desk from nine to five. And with the snow and ice preventing thousands of employees from travelling, flexible working has allowed them to carry on working wherever they are.
A new study of more than 1,000 SMEs shows a clear link between enabling mobile working and business success. The research, commissioned by telecoms specialist Plantronics reveals that SMEs with fully mobile workforces were 60% more likely to be forecasting growth in 2009 compared to businesses that do not enable their employees to work remotely. However, less than four out of ten small businesses say their own workforce is equipped to work where and when they can.
Thomson says there is a real risk to firms who steer away from flexible working in a downturn; Smarter working practices can save costs as well as improve efficiency. Technology solutions can make fewer people more productive and the SMEs that are more agile are the ones most likely to survive the downturn.
The full results of the landmark study have been compiled into a survival guide for business (Downloadable here: http://www.be-a-super-sme.com/advice) The plan is comprised of a ten-point checklist for anyone running their own business and includes tips on where (and how) to focus investment in leaner economic times.
To view Peter Thomson challenging some of the many myths around flexible working and explaining why mobile working is not just good for employees but is increasingly critical for business watch our HowTo video.