A few weeks ago the UK, or at least parts of it, was blanketed by snow.
According to reports I saw, work for many came to a halt. People were unable to get to their offices.
(Funny, no one wrote anything - as far as I recall - about manufacturing operations or call centers, sorry, centres, or any other function that requires a "community" effort.)
There was talk about remote computing and costs and ... all the things I normally include in a standard business continuity plan, be it enterprise, key business unit, or IT-centric.
Recently, the Several States have had more than the usual amount of snow, sufficient to prevent access to facilities to all but the most hardy who happen to have snow shoes or skis.
Even states that normally get only a dusting during an average winter had an unusual amount of the white stuff.
It would be an interesting exercise to see how the UK in particular and Europe in general, planned for, and reacted to, the snow fall.
We know that a number of office-based organizations were effectively out of business for several days. These were in cities, not the hinterlands where I would expect less snow-control infrastructure.
I know that in the States most major office organizations are set up so that staff can work from a remote facility (read "the employee's home"). Some, like Northrop Grumman, where I worked for several winters, provide its office workers with security-equipped notebook computers and special dynamic codes to access the corporate intranet. Other companies are more - sometimes a great deal more - casual and allow anyone with the right username and password to access their intranet (much like we access gmail and similar email accounts).
It would be an interesting MBA-level study to investigate how the UK and EU compare to North America - specifically the US and Canada (do Mexican industrial areas get much snow?) - in so far as risk avoidance and mitigation measures are concerned.
The study could be expended to include non-snow events any where and every where as long as a comparison can be made.
I have an idea how the snow survey would play out based on past experience with incidents in the UK and in the US; it would be interesting to know if my conclusion is accurate. (I will keep my opinions to myself - for now.)
John Glenn, MBCI
Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity practitioner
Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale Florida
JohnGlennMBCI at gmail dot com
Available for work in - or from - southeast Florida