If you are one of the thousands of unfortunate commuters trying to get the London Underground to work over the next few days, you might not believe it - but not everyone sees the up and coming Train and Tube strike as an unmitigated disaster.
The Global Corporate Executive Programme consists of a group of C-level decision makers who meet three times a year to discuss issues that impact on their business, brand and corporate defence systems.
During our lunch break, once we'd finished our rants regarding the Tube strike, the strike’s impact on business, our struggle to get to the event, the enormous stress and strain it has put on businesses and employees, and just what Boris Johnson was going to do about it, we took part in a little thought experiment.
We flipped ‘Why Tube strikes are bad for business’ to ‘Why Tube strikes are good for business’.
So without any further Tube strike diatribes, below are our top 10 reasons why Tube strikes are great for business.
1. Quiet time for planning
In busy office environments, we are constantly being pulled in multiple directions – meetings, crises, unexpected interruptions.
However, the Tube strike action can potentially provide an opportune respite to properly think through and strategise about the multiple projects, opportunities and plans on our radar.
2. Quick resolutions to issues
Even during good meetings there are quite often delays due to people arriving late, technical hitches and so on. Tube strikes better enable us to determine which face to face meetings are absolutely required and which can be resolved by a simple email or phone call.
3. Discover great places to take customers
When was the last time you walked through London? Because of the Tube strike, many people have had to resort to using the GPS on their phone to get to their offices from the Overground.
What interesting quaint places we discovered: several restaurants and pubs, little 'hole in the wall' speciality retailers, and scenic parts of London we'd never seen before.
4. Reduce transport costs and dependency on London Transport
When Tube strikes occur, we are forced to find alternative routes and transport to our offices. Since the current Tube strike, many have realised how close everything in London actually is.
Every Tube strike means more people will decide to walk to their office from their Overground stop even after the Tube strike because of their new knowledge of the London route.
5. Health, fitness and clarity of thought
Apart from the many calories burnt off through a nice brisk walk, you will be able to increase your physical stamina and your clarity of thought will be sharper than if you'd just got off a "sardine can" Tube.
In addition, everyone is less likely to be infected by sick people who travel on the Tube and from other staff who would normally soldier on in the office, in spite of being ill with a cold or flu.
6. Financial risk
When was the last time you examined your financial risk plan? Tube strikes and other disasters are part of working and running any business – in fact unexpected disasters are a natural part of any life.
Tube strikes allow us to test our financial risk plan and provide us with an indication of just how well and for how long the business can cope during more significant disasters.
7. Disaster and business contingency response
From a business perspective, a Tube strike forces us to think how our business can run smoothly without being so dependent on London Transport and what our employees reactions should be when future disasters occur.
Wikipedia has a great set of business response to a variety of disasters that you might like to use to determine your business response to future Tube strikes. The table below is just a small part of Wiki's Disaster Recovery Response entry.
8. Test the business contingency plan
If you already have a contingency plan, Tube strikes allow you to test this plan without too significant an impact compared to the regular "transport paralysis due to snow" disasters that occur at the end of every February/beginning of March (you have prepared for these haven't you).
Your contingency plan should include how wired up your staff are with regard to internet connectivity, mobile communication and a warm quiet place to work, whether it be at their own home or a nearby friend's place.
9. How focused and passionate we are about our work
Working from home during the day allows you to think about how passionate you are about the business and whether you really should be working in the industry/area you're in.
If for example; you're missing the office, the camaraderie, the customers and your colleagues, then you know that this is where you want to be.
Whereas if your immediate thought is "great! I can have a day off" you know that you should probably be working somewhere else or are not giving your colleagues and customers the support and care they really need.
10. Resiliency to stress
Disasters are a natural part of life. How we react to these disasters and dramas determine how successful we can be. There are many stories of heroism, business success, and people who have overcome impossible odds – through all that time these people have managed to stay calm and deal with the challenges thrown their way to eventually overcome. We hope you will too during these and other trying circumstances.
So those are our lunch time chit chat top 10 – if you’ve got any others do add them in the comments below.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article you may be interested in our top ten tips for working effectively during a Tube strike crisis. The article also contains several links to our remote working survival guides.