It's become somewhat of a regular occurrence in recent years, bad weather creating havoc across the UK's travel network.
At the start of January, homeowners and businesses alike were greeted with the news that they could expect to be effectively stranded as storms battered the country's railways and roads.
However, despite it being painfully predictable as to what we can expect to happen around this time of year, it appears as though the authorities are getting no better at dealing with it. Network Rail reported that just under 17 per cent of its services were delayed by the weather between December 8th 2013 and January 4th 2014, while the same period 12 months prior only just over 12 per cent affected.
To put it into context, in this time, nearly 400 trees were blown over onto railway lines, while major routes were blocked by 130 floods and 29 landslips caused by the heavy rain that lashed the country into submission.
Aside from leaving you pining for a sunnier climate, it certainly makes you wish you didn't have to rely on travelling around so much – especially when it comes to business. After all, why should your productivity suffer because of the weather?
Turning the tide your way
The great thing is that, thanks to modern technology, we now no longer have to be held to ransom by bad weather. With more businesses able to take advantage of faster internet connections and conference call facilities, there is no reason why you can't get on with your workload from the comfort of your own home.
This can be a godsend to companies that would otherwise lose out on days when half of their workforce can't actually make it into work, allowing staff to continue doing what they're paid for from their home computers and even taking part in company meetings so they're up-to-date with the latest developments.
As well as your workforce, this approach can also be extended to clients, allowing you to keep in touch with them more often. Even swapping one out of every five of your normal face-to-face meetings for a conference call instead can make a big difference to your productivity if you factor in the time you would normally lose when getting from A to B.
Meetings between offices or clients at opposite ends of the country need no longer depend on the unreliable rail system and you don't have to write off your entire day to get your message across – it's a win-win situation. In addition to the boost you'll receive in productivity, it's also good news for your bottom line, just think about all those travel expenses that no longer apply.
Therefore, while it may be an unusual concept, the start of the year brings good news for business, with a new way of doing things. If you haven't already considered remote working, then maybe it's time to look into it a bit further – otherwise, you could run the risk of being left high and dry once again.