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How the #TubeStrike has affected the mobile workforce

How the #TubeStrike has affected the mobile workforce

For the past two days, London’s underground has practically come to a standstill as the strike by Tube workers has caused chaos in the English capital.

While most hardy workers attempt to get to their offices through crowded buses, taxis and even boats, it brings to light the issue of remote working – an alternative for those who want to remain productive while wisely avoiding the nightmare commute.

A lot of it depends on whether your immediate superior approves, but this week has shown a spike in working from home.

Research from video conferencing software provider Blue Jeans revealed that there was a 27% increase in video conference meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, with the strike officially ending on Thursday at 9pm.

More than four in five (84%) of remote workers logged in using web browsers on their laptops, with 18% using workplace conferencing systems. Interestingly, only 4% used smartphones and tablets, according to the research.

James Campanini, Blue Jeans EMEA VP and general manager, noted the importance of remote working for business today and stressed the responsibility employers have.

“To minimise the impact of travel disruption and maximise the productivity of workers unable to make it to the office, employers need to provide their staff with the suitable enterprise quality tools and policies to allow them to work remotely – whether that’s at home, a coffee shop or even a stranded train,” he said.

“As the need for remote working increases – strike induced or not – it’s more important than ever those organisations have the correct technologies in place to make working from anywhere as seamless a transition from the office desk as possible,” he added.

According to Blue Jeans COO Stu Aaron, one in three of Blue Jeans’ meetings have at least one mobile device connected to them.

This presents a slight disparity when compared with the figures from the Tube strike – yet Aaron sees two kinds of mobile users on these conference calls: those who are just ‘on the go’, and those who prefer to multi-screen.

“Mobile is really a very critical and an increasingly central part of today’s modern meeting,” Aaron added.

The Tube strike, naturally, has garnered social media reaction, with analysis from social aggregator Crimson Hexagon alongside 5W Consulting showing that 17% of Twitter users who commented on the strike would opt for working at home.

26% of Twitter users would opt for cycling over taking the Tube, whilst a quarter (25%) said they preferred to walk and 12% would travel by bus.

Even though the veracity of these facts may be something in between, it still shows that for the truly mobile and remote workforce, there’s still some way to go before full productivity is reached.

Update Feb 10: A previous version of this article claimed the social media figures came from Crimson Hexagon, whereas the figures came from both Crimson Hexagon and 5W Consulting.

Posted by: Ernest

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