Winter is here, and in the DC Metro Area that means that transportation in the whole region can be crippled by a minor snowfall… or in the case of this weekend’s impending blizzard, might face a total shutdown. How can you reduce the impact that inclement weather this winter will have on your business?

Let’s look back at the 2013 – 2014 winter season, as it was one of DC’s snowiest winters on record. Between December 2013 and April 2014, businesses across the region shut their doors on multiple days, including the U.S. Federal Government. That winter there were 5 days of full office closures due to inclement weather as well as 4 days on two hour delay… with an estimated $71,074,495 worth of productivity lost per snow day.

That might seem like a lot, but it turns out the productivity loss was less than the originally estimated $100 million per day. Why? Because 30% of the federal workers in the DC metro area teleworked during the 2013 – 2014 snow storms.

Telework or “telecommuting” is growing across all sectors. 2,157,668 U.S. Federal Government employees teleworked at least some of the time in 2013, and 3.7 million employees now work from home at least some of the time across the entire U.S. workforce.

The benefits of remote work are well documented. For employees, benefits include a better work-life balance coinciding with eliminated commute times (and costs), as well as reduced stress, more exercise, and a more positive attitude, leading to overall greater overall employee satisfaction. For employers, benefits include reduced overhead (due to reduced need for office space and resources), alignment with green goals (ex. less commuting pollution and less paper usage), employee retention (due to the aforementioned increased employee satisfaction, and of course, inclement weather productivity.

The cloud and Unified Communications are two of the technologies that are allowing telework to be increasingly successful. With the ability to video conference, instant message, virtual fax, and Voice over IP mobile functionality such as remote office (which allows users to use their cell phone as if they were in the office – displaying their business number), remote workers can collaborate and interact with coworkers, managers, teams, partners, and clients remotely, with equivalent functionality as if they were in the office in person.

Former Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said, “We can move telework forward to the point where snow emergencies are a relatively small disruption and instead of ‘closure’, we simply have a mobile work day.”

Whether you want to have workers who are full-time remote, or you simply want to allow your workforce to have the capability to work from home when situations such as snow days hit, Allied can help you find the right telework technology solutions. Don’t let a few (or even a lot of) snowflakes shut down your business this winter!

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