With an unprecedented flying ban across Northern and Central Europe as volcanic ash settles over the continent airspace, Siemens Enterprise Communications says business tools such as unified communications – with a video conferencing component that enables ‘face to face’ collaborative working across time zones – are now becoming a key part of large and small organisations’ business continuity planning, enabling key staff to work at home or remotely to beat the travel seize-up.
With world-wide airlines losing an estimated £130 million every day as European flights remain grounded and Eurostar and cross-channel ferry services solidly booked for days, international business is struggling to meet customer needs or even function. As many as 150,000 British business travelers and tourists are thought to be stranded abroad, leading to unscheduled work absences.
Kris Hardiman, vice president, services marketing for Siemens Enterprise Communications, says: “There is already growing adoption of remote working in the UK with approximately 3.1 million people regularly working from home but with the likelihood of travel disruption caused by this volcanic activity continuing for days or even weeks, more and more businesses are having to examine practical approaches to remote working to maintain the flexibility of the services they provide as well as ensuring business continuity.
“Modern office software tools such as unified communications integrate with existing telephone, e-mail and social media, enabling organisations with staff that are unable to fly or stranded abroad to successfully conduct business by video or web conferencing and collaborative working on shared company applications and documents.
“In addition, because unified communications gives firms ‘one number’ for all landline and mobile telephony numbers and email, any international business can maintain a ‘presence’ and protect its corporate reputation – even in these unprecedented travel conditions.”