Irish businesses too windy in a storm

More than enough technology available for smooth operation of remote working

There’s nothing like a hurricane to rigorously roadtest an organisation’s crisis management structures. On Monday, for all too many businesses, crisis management amounted to little more than “close the doors”.

Business and insurance groups will spend the next couple of weeks calculating what the financial cost to the economy is both from the physical damage wrought by the storm formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia and from the loss of earnings as businesses and large parts of the apparatus of state shut down for the duration.

But companies, and a number of State agencies too, would do well to assess for the future just how efficiently they can continue serving their customers even if their bricks and mortar operation is forced to close down.

Remote working is not a new concept and, with wifi, smartphones and encrypted closed systems, there is more than sufficient technology available for its smooth operation. Media companies, among many others, use it all the time.


Dublin’s Silicon Docks may have fallen silent during the storm but Facebook, Google et al had arrangements in place and no difficulty in telling staff on Sunday night that they could work from home.

Routine operations

However, many others were apparently unable to carry out some perfectly routine operations once staff were sent home from their offices, or were advised not to come in at all.

Whether you wanted to order contact lenses, talk to your lecturer or get access to regularly available market data or a business report, the answer too often yesterday was that it could not be done because “the office/shop is closed”.

If Ophelia is to leave any positive legacy, it should be to shine a distinctly unflattering light on the lack of a proper online presence for so many companies and other organisations.

Remote working is no longer cutting edge. Being locked out of the office really should not mean an enforced day off work in this day and age. As business starts to clean up in the aftermath, many need to focus on more than merely the physical scars the storm left behind.