New research carried out by Yougov on behalf of VoIP provider Inclarity shows that more than a third of UK workers have had their company telephone connection cut off due to failures caused by factors such as flooding, power cuts, roadworks and equipment faults since August last year.
The research, which came a year after severe flooding caused havoc for businesses in many parts of the UK, also showed that more than one in five of those questioned had gone without phone usage for up to 24 hour costing on average £14,431 per day.
A similar proportion of workers probed were not aware of any disaster recovery plans, which are vital to make sure that people are not affected by unforeseen disruption to their office telephone service.
For example, more than a quarter of people questioned (26%) were unable to take incoming work calls during telephone downtime and resorted to using their mobiles instead, and could thus incur typically higher mobile costs.
By replacing a traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) telephone system with a modern VoIP solution, so telephone calls are made over the internet rather than a conventional telephone network, businesses can divert all calls off-site should unforeseen disaster strike. Alternatively, firms can keep their existing PBX and connect a hosted VoIP solution too, ensuring they have a back-up plan in place should one network fail.
The nature of a hosted solution means that business can be done as usual because calls can be easily diverted to home phones, mobiles or other offices – giving the company the ability to continue functioning from a different location.
Despite this, nearly two thirds of those questioned (61%) weren’t aware of a plan to deal with disruption to incoming calls caused by events beyond their control.
Worryingly, more than a quarter (26%) said they couldn’t be contacted or didn’t know how customers or suppliers would contact them during times of phone outage.
Businesses in Wales, Scotland and the west Midlands were the least prepared, with two thirds or more unaware of a business continuity plan in place for phone downtime (76%, 67% and 66% respectively).
Surprisingly, the survey revealed that one in four people (25%) still rely on fax as a communication method with customers should their telephone system go down. However, when fax machines operate using a central office phone service, this is not a viable solution to the problem.