Snowed-In Workaholics Turn To Video Conferencing

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Vendors push video conferencing as a way for dedicated workers to overcome hazardous weather conditions

With heavy snow showers bringing areas of the UK to a standstill this week, some dedicated office workers are using video conferencing to maintain face-to-face contact with colleagues while stuck at home. Meanwhile, a few vendors are using the weather as an excuse to push the benefits of digital technology as a way to help businesses overcome natural “disasters”.

“Successfully navigating the recession has already proven a significant challenge for British businesses, but the situation could be further exacerbated by disasters such as snow, airline strike action and health threats this winter,” said Terry Dwyer, Managing Director at video conferencing service provider mvision, in a statement. “Whether it’s flooding, pandemic outbreak panic or other business continuity issues; the frequency of these threats to productivity and profitability is giving many organisations cause to reassess their disaster planning.”

According to the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), the UK’s daily economic output amounts to about £4.5 billion, so if 20 percent of the population has zero productivity for the day, there is arguably a loss of £900 million.

Some business groups estimate that the disruption caused by the heavy snowfall at the beginning of 2009, which saw 20 percent of the UK’s working population failing to make it to work, cost UK businesses about £1 billion. The sectors which were worst affected were retail and construction.

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mvision claims that flexible and remote working practices can play a pivotal role during extreme weather conditions, transport strikes or health pandemics, to help workers stay in touch with colleagues, suppliers and clients. However, many businesses are still failing to modernise their IT infrastructures, exposing themselves to yet more financial risks, according to the company.

As climate change brings increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, UK enterprises may need to start adapting to these new challenges. Former government transport adviser Professor David Begg was reported earlier in the year as saying “Britain’s relatively mild climate means we don’t have enough incidents like this snow to justify the kind of investment that Scandinavian and Eastern European countries have made.”

However, some might argue that being snowed-in is a reasonable excuse to take a day off over the winter season, particularly as recent research has revealed that technology will prevent many workaholics from getting a proper break this Christmas.

A recent study of 1,053 smartphone owners by UK mobile phone price comparison website www.rightmobilephone.co.uk revealed that 77 percent of smartphone owners will be checking their smartphones over the festive period, and two thirds of those said they would do it on a daily basis.


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