As you already know, Hurricane Sandy has taken a huge toll on property and lives the past couple of days. At least 48 people have died; and some estimate the storm could cost as much as $20 billion.
But would the impact on employers be somewhat less were they more open to virtual work and greater workplace flexibility?
A post earlier today on the Businessweek.com, titled “Sandy Puts Mobile Workers to the Test,” suggests the answer is very likely yes.
To be sure, there’s no easy remedy for the loss of power, wherever you are. (Almost on cue, my lights at home flicker on and off as I write these words.) Sure, cell phones are a great back up, until the batteries run dry. But as the BW article suggests, employers with more flexible work arrangements would find themselves in a distinctly better position to ride out storms like Sandy.
As the writer points out …
The least-scathed employers, in many cases, are global companies with contingency plans and cloud-based systems that let employees access data from anywhere. The most vulnerable: those that try to keep their workers and IT systems in the office. For some companies, Sandy could prove to be a powerful catalyst in creating truly flexible workers. For others, it’s highlighted the flexibility they already have.
Time will tell if Sandy turns out to be such a “catalyst.” A “powerful” one? Doubtful. But in considering the destruction and disruption she’s left in her aftermath, I have to think a few employers are going to find time to give such work arrangements a closer look.