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Stopping future “beasts from the east”grinding business to a halt

Phil Jones, managing director of Brother UK discusses what resellers can offer their clients to cope with disruption

The “beast from the east” sweeping in from Siberia and arrival of Storm Emma, left businesses across the UK short of employees on site. According to EY, this cost the economy £1bn per day.

One of the predominant factors for this was staff being unable to complete their role remotely, along with the notable reduced footfall at shops or other customer facilities. As a service dependent economy, when valuable employees do not have access to the technology that they need to work from home or remotely, productivity will suffer.

A big part of this is that transport networks were severely disrupted, with multiple rail cancellations, as well as some roads being too treacherous for workers to travel through. The overall damage to the economy has been estimated to have reduced growth to 0.2% growth for the first quarter of 2018, halving the expected 0.4% rate.

For employees, who either cannot make it into work or do not want to take the risk of hazardous journeys, there are ways to give them almost the same resources they would have available at the office. This is where resellers can help ensure demands to business as usual, regardless of the weather.


Infrastructure is key.  Having access to the key documents, systems and messaging services whilst on the move is vital for people to be effective.  They may not be at home but in a coffee shop or other remote location, so syncing and accessing files becomes vital for maintaining productivity.  Elements such as bandwidth and document size plus cloud storage capacity should be regularly reviewed. 

Mobile technologies

There are options on the market for mobile printers that can help workers print or scan on the go. They can be carried around with a laptop, mobile or tablet, then used at home, or maybe even in the car if there is a last-minute edit to a document needed for an imminent meeting. This caters to more than just home working, as it allows workers the option to print or digitise what they need, whenever required, in any location.

Pre-Mortem Planning

Often the gaps only show when an event occurs rather than being pre-thought about with relevant contingency plans.  Spending time on a warm sunny day thinking about when it’s below freezing and how the business will cope is not wasted time.  Those businesses that end up being quickest to adapt in such circumstances are doing it on auto-pilot as contingency plans are clear, so make sure you spend some time assisting your customer to identify and learn from any gaps that have or may occur. 

The bigger picture

It’s not just about coping with the unexpected, working habits are changing. Research completed by the TUC revealed that in 2016, 1.5million people were working from home in the UK, almost 5% of the total workforce.[1] For such a significant number of workers, remote infrastructure needs to be more than just online access. Key functions such as printing and scanning should be accessible for those working from home.

The key for resellers is to offer their clients the ability to be prepared for the unexpected. The winter bite may be coming to an end for this year, but we are increasingly seeing more troublesome weather throughout the colder months. This along with growing trends of people working more remotely means that the channel can help businesses to adapt to change.


This was last published in March 2018



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