Flooding, power cuts and roadworks have meant that a third of all UK businesses have had to do without their telephone landlines at some point in the last year.

This was the findings of a new poll, commissioned by VoIP provider Inclarity.

Of the one-third of businesses affected, 60% said that they had experienced up to a full day's phone disruption, costing an average of £14,431 per day.

And, more worringly, the same number of respondents said that they had no idea whether there was a "disaster recovery plan" in place to address the problems.

More than a quarter of those who took part in the poll said that they could not be contacted or did not know how customers or suppliers would contact them during times of phone outage.

The poll also found that businesses in London, East Midlands and the North East were most affected by unforeseen disruption to office telephone services.

The findings have highlighted how easy it is for companies in the UK to become incommunicado if something happens to their phone lines - and how quickly they can lose money in these situations.

"Too many UK firms leave their phone systems in jeopardy", said Dave Millett, chief operating officer at Inclarity.

"Communication is the foundation stone of any successful business. Companies need to put more emphasis on ensuring that their phone system is as protected from downtime as they do with other areas such as network and data access."

According to Millet the £14,000 figure is "actually an underestimation" of the potential daily financial damage to companies.

"In today's competitive market company executives should make it their business to ensure that all their key people are available to their customers at all times", he said.