The recent COVID pandemic has, in some cases, highlighted certain quite significant gaps in business operation planning and “disaster” resilience.

Possible scenarios for a major disruption to a business would be an office fire / flood / or perhaps an infestation.

For the purposes of this blog it is assumed that a fire sweeps through the office and destroys the contents of the building; nothing can be salvaged. Business documentation, IT equipment, servers and backup drives have been destroyed or at least damaged in a some way that renders such equipment inoperable for a period longer than business needs demand.

After the emergency services have dealt with any casualties and extinguished the fire business operations do need to continue. How are you now going to continue to maintain contract / project commitments and deliverables? Would failing to meet such deadlines result in the income being withheld or even financial penalties because of late delivery?

Any building insurance is likely to cover structural repairs, contents losses and equipment damage would it cover a disruption of cash flow and / or penalties associated with project delivery? Even if the insurance did provide cover for such eventualities the insurance company are highly unlikely to provide a “ready-made” plan so that your business may start to begin managing the steps required for work to continue as soon as possible and begin to rebuild operations to where things were before fire.

Imagine that you are now looking at the smouldering ruins of the building that was once the office and a by-stander walks over, stands next to you and asks: “what are you going to do next and how are you going to manage to do it”?

Whilst you’re considering these questions the by-stander then turns around and begins to walk away. As a parting comment that person tells you that they can help you recover the business but also show and help you make sufficient preparations for when the next major disruption to your business take place.

Can you confidently answer these questions? Would you not at least consider calling them back to get their contact details? If no, why not? What have you got to lose? Would you not be intrigued by such an offer?

Whatever you decide you’d still be looking at the smouldering ruins of the buildings but, with the benefit of high insight, would you have now decided to accept the offer of help? If you had done so you would have already made the preparations to deal with the consequences of the fire that has just destroyed your office building. You would now be able in a position to know what you are going to do next. You will now also possess the knowledge on how to start business operations and project delivery (initially in a limited capacity) as soon as possible after the fire.

For any further information about the subject raised in this blog email me at

I was approached by the Burton and Lichfield Chamber of Commerce to write a blog about Autism in the Workplace.

In this blog I will be talking about autistic people that sit on the high functioning part of the autistic spectrum. I am not medically trained; by education and career I am a nuclear marine engineer. My knowledge and understanding are based upon 50 years of personal experience and a great deal of more of the understanding behind the autistic condition I have received from my consultant psychiatrist and consultant psychologist who specialises in autism.

About 3 years ago at the age of 47 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s condition, which is a “high functioning” part of the autistic spectrum (ASD). My diagnosis also included having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which is commonly associated with ASD.

One of the difficulties that those of us with ASD have is reading and understanding non-verbal communication . About 70% of the communication between people is non-verbal with the remaining 30% being verbal. One of the many characteristics associated with ASD is that it is (sometimes very) difficult for us to read and interpret body language with the consequently effects thereof. The corollary of this being that those of us with ASD rely almost entirely on only the 30% of all inter-personnel communication and as such do not see, understand or comprehend the remaining 70%.

Imagine living in a country where you can only understand / read about 30% of the its vocabulary. No matter what you do, and because of your genetics, you find it incredibly difficult to learn any more of the language and vocabulary? This is our world.

Within the workplace environment poor communication can often result in a breakdown of understanding individuals. As such people can sometimes be viewed as being difficult to manage, understand and work with. Unless you can effectively communicate with those who have ASD (and a huge majority of people can’t) then resentment and frustration can build up.

Invariably this is down to a fundamental misunderstanding of how those of us who are autistic people process and respond to information. Consequently, these highly intelligent employees are often poorly managed and their skills under-utilised.

Autism is covered under the Equality Act of 2010 (see Page 41 of Equality Act 2010 Guidance) as such carries the same requirement to make adequate adjustment for autistic employees as any other “disability” (as it is deemed). As well as communication difficulties this Act also covers many other characteristics that those of us with ASD have that may be require reasonable adjustment to be made.

At Warneken Consulting we can provide training and advice to businesses on effective communication and management of your autistic employees.

There are many other considerations associated with the autistic condition that can affect the requirement to provide adequate adjustment at work.

If you are interested in learning more about any training / advice I may be able to provide to your business please contact me via email or via my website.

This article can also be found on the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce website.