There is bad news for rail travelers this week, as rail unions start three months of sweeping strikes in France today. With walkouts planned two days out of every five, there will be widespread travel chaos through the country, making it particularly hard for employees to get to work each day. Unfortunately, this is not a problem confined to France—transportation strikes are common throughout the world with strikes in Italy, Greece, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States occurring regularly.
With commute times averaging around an hour each day throughout Europe, workers are already spending valuable time getting to and from work. Add in delays from strikes, construction, and accidents, and this hour becomes even longer. Commuting is already hard and can lead to extra stress, illness, and lack of motivation—increasing the commute time only compounds these issues. That said, there are ways to avoid the commuting chaos and still be productive.
With more and more companies allowing for flexible working, at least a few days a week, it is time to get comfortable with working remotely. With the right tools, working from home (or the café) becomes just as easy and productive as being in the office. Use these tools to get work done while avoiding the strikes.
- Cloud-Based Document Storage
Teams of all sizes should consider using a cloud-based document storage service such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. With the ability to store documents, spreadsheets, presentations, videos, and more in a central repository, this type of technology ensures that employees can access their files from wherever they may be. Plus, many tools will allow multiple people to simultaneously work on a document, making real-time collaboration is possible even when employees are in separate locations.
- Messaging Applications
Email is a great tool for communication, but it doesn’t work well when you need a quick answer or there needs to be a side conversation. Using a messaging application like Slack or Microsoft Teams can solve these issues for you and allow you to easily communicate with colleagues both individually and as a group. In this way, you can still have the same conversations you would have in the office, without having to keep your inbox open at all times.
- Video Conferencing Platforms
No doubt, there is value in being able to see one another face-to-face for important conversations. There are simply some things that cannot be done via email or instant message, and not being available in the office can hinder these exchanges. For those working remotely, video conferencing is the answer to this. With a video platform like BlueJeans, colleagues can easily meet with one another face-to-face within a virtual conference room, no matter how many people need to attend. And because BlueJeans works with computers, mobile devices, and room systems, people can join the meeting from wherever they are, whether that’s the office, home, or the train station. For those away from the office, a video tool can be the difference between working, and working productively.
The fact of the matter is that transportation strikes and other commuter inconveniences can paralyze the country if businesses are not prepared. However, by implementing these tools—either company-wide or within individual teams—employees can work from wherever they are, meaning that work keeps going despite external challenges.