--> Gill Blog: Connecting Insurance, BCP, and Teleworking to SMEs

Gill Blog

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Connecting Insurance, BCP, and Teleworking to SMEs

Okay, so I feel that I have to make some connections here. Once in while, I have to do it just to make sure all the topics we discuss are still directly or indirectly linked. For some reason, I've been thinking a lot about small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) lately and just wanted to see how well they're subscribing to rules of a rapidly changing economy.

Let's start with teleworking. Recent statistics confirm that SMEs are at the vanguard of the movement:
Interestingly, the greatest increase in the number of teleworkers (57%) occurred in medium-sized businesses (100 - 999 employees), with no change in the largest firms (1000+ employees).
Really not surprising when you consider some of the cultural barriers associated with the adoption of teleworking in larger firms. In fact, my friend Jo Verde sent me the following tidbit from Samsung Business that really seems to drive the point home:
A MATTER OF TRUST: British managers simply don't trust their employees to work efficiently from home, with two-thirds of them (66%) stating that 'concerns in employee productivity' is the key inhibitor to their providing the option for staff. In comparison with Spain, The Netherlands and Sweden, only 46% of the UK companies polled by Samsung Business Communications currently offer the facility to employees. That's considerably less than Spain at 53%, The Netherlands at 72% and Sweden at 78%. "UK management seems to have an ingrained mind-set of mistrust when it comes to employees working from home," says Andrew Saunders, head of product marketing at Samsung Business Communications. "It's clearly not based upon the technological ability to do so, rather the worry that if they can't physically keep an eye on employees, they can't control what they're doing. We're lagging behind our European neighbours and need to address the issue, not least to ease congestion on our roads."
Despite the gains in teleworking, seems that SMEs are still lagging behind Fortune 500 companies in the adoption of business continuity planning as indicated in this article by Len Biegel, who cites a recent survey conducted by the American Management Association:
While the largest of the Fortune 500 companies are more prepared than others, the truth is that medium and small businesses have just as much at stake...but are not nearly as well prepared...a disturbing 36% of medium sized businesses do not have crisis plans and are not prepared for an unexpected catastrophe of any type.
This gap points to bigger problems looming on the horizon. As insurers increasingly require their clients to have some type of bcp program in place, those who fail to comply will at some point be left high and dry.
Leading insurers, including AXA, are in talks with the Government about plans to make it a legal requirement for companies to have in place business-interruption arrangements before they can secure cover.

...The move is part of efforts to encourage City firms to take the threat of a potentially crippling event...more seriously and to shift financial responsibility from the Government on to the companies...Despite high-profile events such as the September 11 attacks, research suggests that many companies are still failing to take serious risk-prevention measures.
Connections fortified - time for SMEs to take action.


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