Awareness Simplicity Flexibility Community Forum About Work Raft

Ensuring there are always alternatives

How will our businesses continue to operate when a road is blocked, when the power goes out in the CBD or when staff are unwell? How will our cities continue to operate when we can't afford to travel or the bus and rail infrastructure breaks down? We need to have an alternative. And we need to ensure that our suppliers of power, water and telecommunications also have (or can provide) alternatives for when their networks break down.

There is a clear alternative to the transport network. It is an alternative that has proven its ability to deliver financial and many other benefits, even before change makes it essential. This alternative is simply to make travel, the movement of people, unnecessary (as far as possible).

For national and local government this means actively promoting telework and telecommuting so that more people and businesses can continue to work without relying on a network of roads, or rail lines. It also means better urban, suburban and peri-urban design and planning.

For employers it means making telework (working from home or near home instead of travelling) available and effective for as many staff as possible. It also means making more use of audio- and video-conferencing technologies and less use of expensive face-to-face meetings. And it means managers might have to rediscover what it means to trust their staff...

For individuals it means getting used to e-shopping and e-banking. It also means pressuring employers to allow and support more working from home. (We have prepared a resource that could assist.).

However, individuals and individual companies can't always develop their own alternatives to the power, water or telecommunications networks. We can collect rainwater, install solar and wind power options, and maintain alternative energy sources for cooking and heating (BBQs, fireplaces, etc.) and running our businesses (generators). But we probably need our governments to provide more direction to, and exert more control over, our utility providers to ensure that they have alternatives available at all times.

And when a really major change occurs, we all need to know and work within our local communities to find our own alternatives.



Although this web page is primarily concerned with ensuring that you have flexible alternatives when they are needed, there is a strong overlap with being 'sustainable'. Many of the things that help us become more sustainable can also help us to become more flexible. Check out:

The Sustainable Living Centre

The Sustainable Business Network


The New Zealand Government has published a guide to Business Continuity Planning, with particular relevance to pandemics. However, some of the points made would be relevant to many possible threats.



Last updated: 13-Feb-2010.  Copyright Bevis England. All rights reserved.
Comments, suggestions and feedback welcome: bevis@workraft.org.nz