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The Impact of Hurricane Sandy

by Craig Roth  |  October 31, 2012  |  1 Comment

My best wishes go out to those in Sandy’s path. Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, CT and has a strong New England presence. Five of our offices are closed today. I’m always happy to see workmates from the hard hit regions posting on Facebook or sending email.  Even if it doesn’t have to do with the storm, I can tell they’re OK.  It’s ironic how many of the postings say “the power just went out.”

After people have secured home and family, thoughts of teleworking begin to set in.  The New York subway system is still flooded and other parts of New England are impassable due to flooded roads or heavy snow.  It’s times like these when companies with minimal commitment to work-at-home programs regret not having teleworking infrastructure and processes in place.

A business continuity plan should address how employees will be able to work if the office is inaccessible.  Gartner is a more distributed organization to begin with so it’s a bit easier, but many still work in offices.  For example, most of our Research Engagement Services staff that normally work in offices is working remotely today.  The answer lies in technology (VPNs and VPN-accessible applications, access to e-mail from mobile phones, laptops, web-based administrative systems, access to content) and process (distributing the right equipment and training, communication and supervision, etc.).

In Chicago, where I live, we don’t get nor’easters, but businesses downtown learned a lesson last year when the NATO summit (and protesters) came to town. I documented its impact in What it Takes to Get Employers to Try Work at Home Practices in Chicago: NATO and Handcuffs. In particular, I was amazed how companies had 11 months to plan for this, but some still seemed caught off guard.  And now that Chicago’s forced experiment with telework has passed I haven’t heard of any organizations that have decided on an ongoing commitment to it.

So, in summary, I hope everyone is well and that businesses don’t take too much of a hit at a time when the economy really needs more confidence and productivity.  To the extent that the technologies my team covers (collaboration and communication) can help I hope that they are used and maybe establish some successes that encourage teleworking even in calmer times.

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Category: collaboration  communication  

Craig Roth
Research VP, Tech and Service Providers
7 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Craig Roth is a Research Vice President focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends...Read Full Bio

Thoughts on The Impact of Hurricane Sandy

  1. Steve Ferman says:

    Craig, I own a computer Company and an Online Data Backup company here in North Jersey. Loved your story and besides all the visible issues the Federal Government is not Publicing the devistation that our main mail sorting centers took here in north jersey. No mail is being delivered or very little for over two weeks now. Which means no Checks to deposit to pay bills and employees. I am in the business of DR and Business Continuity and while all our Cloud Clients worked flawlesly and our Backups ran day in and day out we need soem Disaster relief from our Government in securing funding to companies to operate. I have spokento my peers from as far away as 30 miles from and some are having the same issues. Something needs to be done.

    My last blog was about the storm as well, if your intrested there are some pictures of the devistation from Sandy very sad indeeed.

    Best Rgards


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