With thousands of London underground staff on strike until Wednesday, many small businesses across the capital will be frustrated at the potential loss of productivity and revenue from staff unable to make it into the office.
Despite similar strikes over the last few years, which often stretched the capacity of London’s buses and taxis to breaking point and left thousands of commuters stranded, it seems that most of the capital’s SMEs have not learnt their lesson. And, with more strikes planned over the coming months, history may continue to repeat itself.
A recent poll of 225 small businesses and enterprises found that 53% of small businesses are unprepared for events that could prevent employees’ access to the office, compared to just 18% of enterprises.
The customers I speak with are concerned about the impact that disruptive events like transit strikes can have on employee absenteeism and their business, but having a plan in place can make a big difference.
Not only do businesses lose out financially as the disrupted commute eats into normal office hours, the strikes also mean that employees walk into the office tired and frustrated from their journey. Instead, employees should be encouraged to work from home and be given the tools that enable them to stay productive when out of the office—from communications to remote computer access. This can not only minimise the impact of strikes, but can actually allow companies to be more flexible in their approach any disruption.