London TubeAs the time approached, the City of London moved to ensure that today’s tube strikes went smoothly without major disruptions. More buses and extra room for boat passengers were organized. But despite all these preparations, practically all tube lines were suspended or delayed at some point and it’s been reported that over 3 million commuters would have to walk to work. In fact if you live and work in London, it’s hard not to know about and be affected by today’s tube strikes – that is unless of course your company allows you the opportunity to work from home.

While many workers today struggled with the commute to work and arrived late to the office, companies could actually eradicate this lost time by enabling employees to work from home for the day. Simple online collaboration software, whether it be instant messaging, audio conferencing, or online meeting software, can enable workers to keep in touch with their colleagues throughout the whole day and work together, even while one colleague sits in Hammersmith and another in Hackney, for example. Just about everyone has access to the Internet at home and while companies cannot hand out a laptop to all employees, many have computers at home and can quickly download the necessary online collaboration software to keep them in the loop with their colleagues across the work day. Take a few work documents home with you via USB, and you’re good to go.

Why not work in your pajamas from home?

Working from home TweetAnd in fact people are avoiding the strikes today simply by working from home. But what about the rest of the London workforce, such as those reported above? Today, London’s commuters had to line up in massive bus queues, others were jam packed into the overground trains, while the remaining commuters made their way on bikes or even foot. Of course there are occupations that will require being there in order to get the job done today. But so many? Or is that employers are not providing their employees with the work-from-home option? Perhaps lack of awareness for the web collaboration alternatives that exist. Or on the other hand, is it an issue of trust? Perhaps some employers are unsure that their employees will put in a day’s work from home without any supervision.

It also leads one to wonder what the effect of the tube strikes would be and if the tube workers would see their demands met if people worked from home. If more Londoners were working from home for the day instead of being a part of today’s street mayhem, then the effect of the strike would be kept to a minimum. No traffic jams, no employees late to work, and no headlines. The leverage of a strike could almost vanish.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Let us know your thoughts below by leaving a comment. Are you working from home? If not, is it due to your line of work or could you have avoided the difficult commute this morning and worked from home, had you been aware of the opportunity of online collaboration?

And what about the trust issue? As an employer or employee, are you aware of the benefits of online collaboration tools to work from home, but not convinced that a good day of work can be achieved?

Finally, if you’re already a regular user of the Mikogo software, what are your thoughts on how the software can be used when people are unable to reach the office? Or do you think there is something that the software needs to facilitate working from home on such days as today?