Coping with the snow, by Simon Gautrey

With snow disruptions set to cost the UK economy between £600m and £2bn, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) estimates that about 10% of the UK's 30 million workforce have been unable to get to work.

As someone who works closely with businesses across the UK, it’s interesting to see how the bad weather has tested companies contingency plans to cope with a rise of employees working from home. In the past week, I’ve seen a surge of companies sign up to a trial of Microsoft’s BPOS suite, an online collaboration tool that allows businesses to outsource their IT and subscribe to just the services they need. I believe this increase is partly down to one of the key benefits of BPOS, in that as a Hosted solution, businesses can conduct face-to-face web meetings, collaborate on documents and share calendars without needing to be in the office. As BPOS is a cloud service, there’s no hardware to install so businesses can be up and running within 24 hours. At a time when business productivity is key, BPOS is a smart way for businesses to keep moving even if their employees can’t.

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Simon Gautrey is Group Manager for software plus services, Microsoft UK