The snow is in full force. But does a cloud-based world mean uninterrupted working?
Mother Nature has clearly been in full swing this week, dumping plumes of snow on the UK, turning pavements and roads into ice rinks and pushing down temperatures to bone-chilling levels. And as we all know – in this country, when the snow starts falling, businesses grind to a halt. The lack of infrastructure to cope with the fairly rare occasions that icy weather takes hold over the country is evident – and workers shelter from the pain of sub-zero commuting by seeking refuge in their living rooms and bedrooms away from the stress and – in some cases – danger, of travelling further their front door. The MET Office has issued dangers of risk to life. This is a serious event indeed.
Now, the beauty of cloud based systems is the ability to log on from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. This means access to customer information, emails, VOIP phone calls and – relating to energy – the ability to continue to quote for energy contracts irrespective of what’s going on outside. I’ve been waiting for weather like this, to see what impact it actually has on activity in the utilities sector. And the impact is severe.
Based on our system logs yesterday, quoting activity dropped to 15% of levels we’d normally expect on a typical Wednesday – for a couple of reasons. Firstly, despite the potential for flexible home-based working, companies are not always prepared for these eventualities. And using a standard model of an office-based workforce, why would they? These events are so infrequent, that perhaps the lull in activity can be seen as an opportunity for respite for a busy working staff, particularly heading into the end of the month.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly – decision makers are…not making decisions. The impact of this sort of weather is to geographically ostracise management teams – decisions can’t be made as quickly or efficiently, and many companies will cease making any at all, preferring to defer these decisions when everyone’s back safe and sound in the office. Really can’t blame them for that!
For the ‘hardcore’ few continuing to work away – rain or shine – just make sure you’re careful travelling home tonight. Stay safe and let’s all hope for better weather next week!