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When Disaster Strikes, UK Businesses Plan to Tell Staff to Take Holiday

  • 22 June, 2006 13:04

<p>New research from Mitel, the trusted provider of IP communications solutions, has revealed that more than two out of three (68%) UK businesses with greater than £1 million ($2.49m AUD) turnover are ill-prepared for unforeseen events, admitting it would take them two working days or longer to become operational following a disaster. This is an interesting revelation considering the number of UK firms with business continuity plans in place has nearly tripled in the last six years .</p>
<p>Gwilym Funnell, Mitel Australia Managing Director commented, “The UK has seen a number of disasters affecting the London area in 2005. Australian businesses can learn a lot from the harsh lessons learnt by businesses in the UK. The businesses that have best weathered disasters – both man made and natural – are those that have data centres across multiple sites, and have encouraged employee teleworking from home.”</p>
<p>Not only is business disruption estimated to cost UK businesses on average £6,000 ($14,900 AUD) per day , 32% of the companies surveyed admitted they would be prepared to take an even bigger hit on profits by giving staff the day off if they were unable to access the office.</p>
<p>Over a quarter (26%) of senior managers told researchers they would attempt to rely on mobile phones to keep their business running, pointing to the lack of planning around telecoms protection. Whilst the use of mobile phones beyond the office seems like a straightforward solution, it is not only costly, but mobile phone networks quickly become jammed in the event of a full-scale disaster.</p>
<p>However, larger companies, with a turnover of over £20 million ($50m AUD), are proving to be better prepared to address business continuity planning, with two thirds (66%) estimating they could resume operations within 24 hours.</p>
<p>The results also revealed some interesting sector variances. The UK retail industry in particular was highlighted as the least prepared to cope with disasters, with 64% taking more than 48 hours and 28% requiring over a week to get back up and running. These results point to a high risk that retailers will lose sales and customers in the event of a disaster.</p>
<p>Some companies have taken the step of using IP communications to enable users to maintain productivity, whether they are in the office or not. The ubiquity of home broadband has catapulted this into a viable solution for disaster recovery situations.</p>
<p>Bob Escourt, group telecoms manager at the UK Natural History Museum, said: “Although everyone has mobile phones that can be used should they not able to reach the office, this presents its own problems in terms of networks becoming jammed, lack of access to contact details and high costs. By using IP phones from home or another office, staff will simply be able to log on from a remote location and have the same functionality that they have at their desk.”</p>
<p>The survey was undertaken by Continental Research on behalf of Mitel Networks in February 2006 among a national sample of UK companies with an annual turnover of over £1m ($2.49m AUD). 200 Managing Directors, Financial Directors and other senior managers were surveyed.</p>
<p>Summary of results</p>
<p>When asked about business recovery times in the event of a disaster, 20% or UK businesses responded up to one working day, 38% responded 24 to 48 hours, 30% responded more than 48 hours, and 12% reported that they didn’t know how long it would take,</p>
<p>When asked about the strategies that managers would take with staff if physical access to their normal office building was impossible, 32% of UK businesses said they would give staff the day off, 26% would rely on mobile phones, 18% would tell staff to log into IT systems remotely, and 10% would advise staff to work at another office location.</p>
<p>About Mitel
Mitel is a leading provider of integrated communications solutions and services for business customers. Mitel’s voice-centric IP-based communications solutions consist of a combination of telephony hardware and software that integrate voice, video and data communications with business applications and processes. These solutions enable our customers to realize significant cost benefits and to conduct their business more efficiently and effectively by enabling enhanced communications, information sharing and collaboration within a business and with customers, partners and suppliers. Mitel is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with offices, partners and resellers worldwide. For more information, visit www.mitel.com</p>
<p>Media Contact
Sebastian Rice,
Silverspan, 02 9959 1991, seb@silverspan.com,
www.silverspan.com</p>

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