Surviving the storm

London has recently had a couple of Tube strikes, and will probably have more. At the same time, much of the UK has struggled with the most appalling storms, rain, and floods on record. Judging by my Facebook and LinkedIn pages, many people’s reaction has been to get up at unconscionable hours so they can struggle in to work by 10 am, tired and wet. Then they leave again at 3pm to avoid the worst of the traffic/detours.

People are arriving at work tired, working half-days, getting home even more tired, and collapsing/solacing themselves with half-a-bottle of wine before they get up early again the next day to struggle on. At this stage of the 21st Century, this makes no sense.

We have 24 hour news, legal restrictions on strikes, and accurate weather prediction. We know when these events are going to occur (Even the flooding generally gets warning). So this is my preparation guide for how to survive these issues in a stress-free way.

  1. Talk to your boss. Explain that you plan to work from home, that you will be more productive if you do so, and give him details of what you can work on without being in the office.
  2. Rearrange your meetings. Sure, there are occasional meetings that really are time-critical, or that involve so many people that they can’t be rearranged. But most of them can, and your colleagues/clients/partners will be just as aware as you of the impending problems, and most will be relieved to rearrange themselves.
  3. Check you can access your IT from home. If not, save files that you need to work on into your favourite cloud storage application – Dropbox, OneDrive, Box.Net, or OA Files, our file-sharing service. You should probably check that your corporate IT policies allow this. (If you don’t have a corporate IT policy, get your HR people to get in touch with us and we’ll help them make a sensible one). If you are one of the professions that need it, make sure any paper documents are in a bag/briefcase.
  4. Put out-of-office on your email, (Something on lines of “Due to impending floods, I may not be able to check emails as regularly as I normally do”), and check that you know how to access your mail from outside the office. Ideally, set it up on your phone, iPad, laptop, or home PC for ease of use. If you can’t do that, check with your IT provider, and if it’s not possible, tell your boss to call us, so at least you will be able to work next time!
  5. Get your direct dial to forward to your home phone or mobile, or at the least leave a voicemail message on it similar to your email one.
  6. Let your colleagues know you will be at home, give them contact details.
  7. Go home, set your alarm for 30 minutes before you usually arrive at the office, and have a good night’s sleep. At 9 O’ Clock, find an excuse to call your boss/colleagues just to make clear you are at your desk and starting work. If you then want to back to bed for 45 minutes you’re probably safe. Get on with your day’s work .
  8. CC people a bit more than normal. At the end of the day, prepare a little report, just a few lines, to send your boss to let them know what you’ve done – as well as being genuinely useful, it will help convince them how productive you have been, and perhaps let you do this again.
  9. If there was eg a Database that you couldn’t access from home, make sure you do when you get back to the office. More brownie points.

In all honesty, the techie/IT bits should really already be in place – if they’re not, chat to your boss about it, and see if your IT people can help – they should be able to. If not, obviously call us 🙂