Thwarting a Train Strike by Working Remotely

Take the estimated 300,000 daily commuters on the Long Island Railroad and have them all drive into work for a few days. I can guarantee it wouldn’t be a pretty sight. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what might happen starting July 20th if the train service is unable to renegotiate its contracts with the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

As a daily rider of the LIRR myself, the mere potential for a train strike is one that concerns me greatly. “Just how am I going to get to work?” I ask myself, “Traffic will be a nightmare!” Surely other commuters are thinking the same thing.

The last time that the LIRR went on strike in 1980, the private sector lost about $300 million per day when adjusted for inflation. In these times of fragile economic recovery, this is a cost that businesses simply cannot afford. One practice that businesses will use to mitigate the impact of such a strike, however, is encouraging their commuter employees to work from home:

Strike or no strike, you might think that employers would prefer their workers to brave an overcrowded Long Island Expressway to get into work. On the contrary, with today’s technology the office is brought closer to home than it has ever been. In integrating the cloud into their infrastructure, companies retain the same levels of productivity and communication should anything prevent employees from coming into work. Here are just a few of the tools businesses will use to get ahead of the strike:

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa fa-li accent”]Cloud Storage: online storage systems allow for equal access to information at home on multiple platforms.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa fa-li accent”]Online Work Spaces: Private social networking platforms provide a space to post company wide messages and updates.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa fa-li accent”]Document Sharing: Shared files facilitate live editing sessions, where feedback can be received instantly.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa fa-li accent”]Videoconferencing: multi-party video chats give workers at home the same face-to-face interaction held by the staff in office.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa fa-li accent”]Outsourced Networks: IT management can be outsourced to specialized partners and keep staff focused on their own projects.

While cloud technology does an excellent job of replicating the office at home, there are also a number of benefits to using it in the case of a strike. For one thing, workers will eliminate commutes from their schedule entirely, allowing them to report for work on time and get a better night’s sleep. Additionally, by keeping employees at home they will consume less fuel, saving money and reducing vehicle emissions.

In general, cloud technology facilitates a better ability for businesses to cope with forces outside their control that disrupt their operations. I know that should the strike actually happen, telecommuting is the best way I will be able to continue my work without major headache.

Tomorrow, see how Office 365 services in particular will help to reduce the impact of a strike.

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