Take flooding. This is nothing new, and happens most years somewhere in the United Kingdom. Admittedly, this year has seen the highest rain since records began in the south-east and central southern England, and seems much on a par with the flooding of 2000, which had been the most extensive since the floods of March 1947. The current spate of flooding has been exacerbated by the high winds, leading to substantial coastal damage, loss of power and damage to the rail infrastructure.
Again Tube strikes are nothing new. They occur with some regularity, with Transport for London making maximum efforts to maintain a minimal service on some lines, and bolstering bus services to provide additional capacity. The current industrial action started at 2100hrs on 4th February, and is due to continue for 48 hours, with a further 48 hour action scheduled to start at the same time on 11 February.
So, what are the similarities between these two seemingly unlinked events? Neither floods nor industrial action are new or unexpected. Both have happened before and will happen again. Both have lead times and warnings (admittedly flooding is not the most exact science, but there have certainly been good warnings for this current spate of flooding). Whilst the enormity of the current flooding should be recognised, I would suggest that businesses should have standard and procedural responses to normal flooding events. Equally, London-based businesses should have fairly well-practised procedures for tube strikes.
As an example, London office-based businesses may wish to consider alternate ways of working on tube strike days, such as home-working. Businesses in flood plains again should consider other options, such as flood defences or home working. Flooding and industrial action could be so procedural as to be treated as Business As Usual. However, all businesses should take care to monitor a developing situation to ensure that they are able to put business continuity/crisis management procedures into place such the situation deteriorate.
Written by Helen Molyneux