It only lasted 60 hours, but that was enough. "It" was New York City's transit strike, which City Comptroller William Thompson Jr. estimated to cost the city's economy ca. $1 billion.
Retail businesses were perhaps hardest hit, losing perhaps half a billion dollars right before the Christmas holiday. Businesses which relied on perishable goods or prompt deliveries also suffered.
But many knowledge workers stayed home and, to the extent possible, used e-mail and other collaboration tools to conduct business. But if companies believe such an impromptu approach will work for them in the event of a longer crisis, such as a pandemic influenza, they are wrong. The transit strike should serve as a wake-up call, not only for New Yorkers but for everyone. Managers need to ask themselves if they could continue operating in this fashion (i.e. transit strike mode) for three months or longer.
When Basex analysts informally polled executives in the New York area, the answer was a resounding "NO!"
As our holiday gift to you, we are making our report, Strengthening Corporate Pandemic Preparedness and Response, available at no charge. Simply go to the Basex Web site to download your complimentary copy.