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Volume 32, Issue 2

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Friday, 03 August 2018 18:20

Workplace Recovery – The Next Industry to be Disrupted?

Daniel Perrin, Global Solutions Director, Workplace Recovery, IWG

With hurricanes and other natural disasters impacting the U.S., now, more than ever, companies are re-examining their business continuity plans. Traditional workplace recovery strategies haven’t kept pace with modern business needs though. Historically, companies built their strategy around IT. This meant that when disaster stuck, to keep critical staff working, businesses needed access to their data.

The solution was to keep offices near a recovery server ready for when a problem shut the office down. If that happened, businesses would send the 20 or so needed staff to work from space next to the server. That’s the model the industry has followed, but it is a model which is redundant.

Why? There are three main reasons:
  1. Technology has evolved dramatically since most large businesses first developed a workplace recovery strategy. The rise in cloud computing means that data is not housed in one particular place. It can be accessed from anywhere. This means a recovery plan no longer needs to be based entirely on the location of servers. It can be based on what works best for your business at a particular time.
  2. Recovering to one fixed location can be a logistical nightmare – if not ill-advised. Of course, if a small leak in an office has rendered it unusable, you can move staff to a specific, identified back-up office. But, what if your city is flooded or facing another equally significant impact event? Chances are one of two things will occur, if you are dependent for recovery on one specific location. Either your back-up location will also be hit or your people won’t be able to get there. In today’s world, a smart business needs to develop a workplace recovery strategy that is responsive and dynamic. One which can evolve to a live situation.
  3. The traditional financial model of making workplace recovery centers profitable revolves around oversubscribing each one – essentially selling the same “seat” to 10 or so different businesses. This makes sense based on the assumption that different businesses will not need recovery at the same time. But, in the example above – a major incident affecting large swathes of a city – chances are multiple companies will be impacted. Businesses therefore run the risk that at the one time they need the recovery seat they’ve been paying for, someone else may be sitting in it.


What makes a dynamic workplace recovery provider?

Primarily, one that offers a network of locations to choose from and offers flexibility to meet customers’ needs. And, a provider that will guarantee you space in any type of emergency, especially ones that impact entire cities.

For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, Regus, which provides flexible workspace and is owned by IWG, offered the capacity to ensure that customers could continue working because it had 70 locations in the area. For example, one of our customers wanted to recover to one of our offices in the Woodlands, outside of Houston. This seemed sensible, but as the storm approached it became clear that this client’s employees would not be able to reach the site. We were able, proactively, to contact the customer and adapt their plan in real time, by the minute, recovering them to another location that would not be affected.

Businesses are realizing that workplace recovery plans are critical and that their current plans may not be fit for purpose. It’s a good time for companies to evaluate their plans and ensure that they are working with dynamic partners that have the flexibility to meet their needs.

For more information, visit http://www.iwgplc.com/.