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Snow is falling and yet people still trudge to the office

It’s that time of year again when freelancers who work from home really can thank their lucky stars!

Actually, we already have a lot to be thankful for; flexibility, no boss sitting on our shoulders and a nice quiet, comfortable working environment. But take a look out your window first thing in the morning and again in the early evening and watch the poor folk shivering while they struggle to walk through the snow. Doesn't the sight make you glad you chose to be a freelancer, working in your nice warm house?

The cold snap has hit unusually early this year. Hundreds of schools are closed in Scotland and early morning blizzard conditions in central Scotland meant misery for motorists battling to get to work.

Further south, almost 100 commuters travelling by train from London to Ashford were stranded for over two hours after the tracks froze in Monday's sub-zero temperatures.

For hundreds of years the UK has suffered spells of freezing weather and heavy snowfall and yet most of the time we're hopelessly unprepared for it. Unbelievable isn't it?

Business leaders should also learn from past experiences. According to the FSB, January's wintery weather cost the UK economy at least £600 million every day, whilst the CEBR put the figure at around £900 million. A lot of these losses undoubtedly come about because people simply can't get to work.

However, businesses with remote working systems will not have suffered to the same degree as some of their competitors. Companies need to put measures in place that enable staff to work remotely, after all the same problem occurs on an annual basis.

Whilst this should not be too difficult for large corporations, small businesses are still struggling to implement such measures. And yet it is exactly these businesses that can't afford to lose working hours due to adverse weather conditions. Every company needs business continuity but for SMEs that are more vulnerable to a loss of revenue, even the slightest drop in productivity could cause them to go under.

We live in a world where communications have never been easier. Nearly 75% of UK households now have Internet access and out of these I'm sure a large proportion of the residents could work from home for a few days if necessary.

There are currently around 4.2 million people in the UK who work remotely on a regular basis, some of these are freelancers and others work for companies that recognise the benefits of the flexible working model. However, at just under 15%, this is still quite a small percentage of the working population.

Maybe it's about time businesses around the UK had a rethink and let their employees enjoy the benefits of working from home, even if it is just during the bad weather. What do you think?

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Image: UK snow! by TONGUELOOSE Photography