By Claire West

With the major disruption across the UK caused by snow at the start of 2010 still fresh in the memory, the threat of extended periods of heavy snowfalls and freezing conditions over the next few weeks once again raises the question of how to minimise the impact on business.

A YouGov survey commissioned by Citrix GoToMyPC in January found that 74% of employees were affected by the adverse weather conditions, with more than 124 million working hours lost in just one week. Although almost half (48%) of British workers felt under pressure to get into work and maintain ‘business as usual’, 11% could not get into work but worked from home, with another 12% unable to work at all.

“The impact on small businesses was especially severe,” says Andrew Millard, director of marketing and eCommerce EMEA, Citrix Online. “Nearly 60% of small businesses admitted they had suffered as a result of the wintry conditions, yet more than half were unprepared for unexpected interruptions, with no business continuity plans in place.”

There is however a simple and cost-effective way to tackle this problem. “Online collaboration solutions are affordable and simple to use,” confirms Millard,” enabling businesses of all sizes to be prepared for disruption at any time.

“Workers can easily and securely access their desktops and work as if they are at the office, collaborating with colleagues and clients in real time through online meetings, with no loss of productivity.

Remote access technologies therefore offer the perfect solution for employees wanting to avoid the risk of having the working day unexpectedly cut short or missing important meetings,” he believes.