An open letter from Adrian Burholt, CEO of The Key Revolution on the effects of the recent snow on UK businesses.
The recent snow that incapacitated most of the South-East was undoubtedly scenic but to small business owners with commuting employees it meant closed offices for the day. Even larger firms were affected, as their suppliers are the small companies that suffer on such days.
Unscheduled office closures, even if only for a day, can really harm small businesses. During a recession, when margins are squeezed to breaking point, a days lost business becomes a looming back hole. The Times reported that Mondays snow cost the UK economy an estimated 3 billion in lost productivity.
Given the scenario above, its vital that small firms embrace flexible working. In so many management and business magazines I keep reading letters from employers asking if they are legally required to grant requests for flexible working. Unfortunately, there still seems to be an underlying (old fashioned) attitude that if you can avoid saying yes, you should.
If a company has a flexible working policy in place that means employees can work productively from home then snow days do not have to translate into duvet days. The technology to enable this is with us today, is inexpensive and easy to implement. When weather and economic climate bite employers need to seize every opportunity that offers itself rather than become protectionist.
Adrian Burholt, CEO, The Key Revolution, Newbury, UK