Maintaining productivity during disruption

by John Acton, Managing Partner for Passenger Services, Telefónica UK

Disruption in the travel and transport world is unavoidable. Contingency plans can of course be created, but sometimes it is simply out of your control. Passengers this summer will have seen their travel plans change due to disruption, particularly because of extreme weather (such as heat waves and flooding) affecting the tracks.

As outlined in our report at the end of last year, the most important thing travel operators can do during disruption is keep passengers informed. Earlier this month, David Sidebottom, Passenger Director at the independent watchdog Transport Focus said: ‘It is crucial that they [passengers] are warned in plenty of time if trains are likely to come to a standstill or be severely delayed.’ However sometimes things will come to a standstill and therefore, whether you’re a passenger or an employee, being able to work remotely is critical.

YouGov research report commissioned by O2 shows that progress can be made by adopting an ‘Anywhere Office’ approach. During periods of disruption, workers and businesses alike can protect their productivity by appreciating the benefits of flexible working. The report revealed that UK Businesses are losing a combined 6.6million hours and £1.6 billion per week by not embracing new ways of working. The report shows a desire from almost half (46%) of employees to break the 9-5 routine to help them become more efficient. However, only 48% of businesses have integrated digital mobility into their strategy.

At O2 we support a flexible working culture. In 2012, ahead of the London Olympics and the forecasted disruption, we shut our headquarters for a whole day with more than 2,500 employees working away from the office. O2 has also worked with TransPennine Express to equip their employees with the right technologies to make sure they are connected at all times on the job. With the assistance of mobile devices, staff have the most up to date information for passengers in the palm of their hands. Ultimately we have first-hand experience of making flexible working a reality, for us and our customers.

Flexible working can offer businesses more than just happy employees. It’s about streamlining your operations to make cost efficiencies, increasing productivity and finding new ways to meet the needs of your customers.

Visit our website to find out more about flexible working, or tweet me @actonjohn.