By Joel Dolisy, SVP and CTO/CIO of SolarWinds

It’s estimated that July’s Tube strike cost the British economy £300 million in revenue according to reported figures from the UK Government. Hundreds of thousands of commuters arrived at their desks late and left early, worked from home or simply took a day’s holiday to avoid the never-ending nightmare of London’s ageing transport system.

While the capital was divided on whether or not to support the strike, the inconvenience was shared by businesses across the city as productivity fell. From a technological perspective, mass remote working at short notice can cause havoc for IT pros, who often find themselves inundated with help desk tickets as people struggle to access the tools they need to work effectively.

With this in mind, businesses affected by the downturn in productivity should draw positives from being caught on the back foot, and use the experience as a learning to ensure they have robust measures in place to support flexible working. With another Tube strike set for this week, businesses need to make sure they are not caught short while driving workforce productivity. Without proper IT support in place for remote workers, organisations could end up having more pressure on their help desk teams by disgruntled employees who are facing telecommuting problems from accessing network resources.

A few top tips for IT pros to make sure their organisation is not left standing on the platform at the next Tube strike:

• Implement remote working practices supported by the right tools. Working from home, from a technological perspective, should be no different from working in the office.

• Utilise remote support tools to ensure end-user requests can be resolved without needing to be physically present at the end-user’s machine. Some remote support tools only work within the corporate firewall, but many work both inside and out.

• Invest in a firewall that allows for secure connections to computers regardless of VPN connectivity.

• Empower IT pros with mobile IT administration tools to monitor and be alerted on critical infrastructure issues across the network.

With the number of remote workers continuing to rise, and more Tube strikes on the horizon, it’s essential that organisations take the opportunity to safeguard themselves from industrial action by using every tool they have at their disposal to overcome the potential impact to their bottom line. Making sure they have a robust and highly connected infrastructure in place will go a long way to helping them achieve this and avoid downtime and a drop in productivity.